(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Epistolae Ho-Elianae : the familiar letters of James Howell"

Ex Libris 
Samuel E-Thorne 



^^ •^'fe.^Bi ^ 



EPISTOLiE HO-ELIAN^ 




r 3x^r^J/:^Au.^^/o^y^- xyuMf>rui/ye^MU>9^^ 



JAMES HOWELL 



IN A FRONTISPIECE GROUP OF TEN SYMBOLICAL 

DRAWINGS MADE BY F. H. VAN HOVE FOR THE 1678 

EDITION OF THE "FAMILIAR LETTERS" 



Cpistolae f|o=Clianae 



THE FAMILIAR LETTERS 



OF 



3(ame0 %mtU 



With an Introduction by Agnes Repplier 



VOL. I 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

MDCCCCVII 



COPYRIGHT 1907 BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



THIS EDITION CONSISTS OF TWO HUNDRED AND 
TWENTY COPIES OF WHICH THIS IS NUMBER ^g" 



INTRODUCTION 

IF the unresponsive gods, so often invoked, so 
seldom complaisant, would grant me one sweet 
boon, I should ask of them that I might join that 
little band of authors, who, unknown to the wide 
careless world, remain from generation to generation 
the friends of a few fortunate readers. Such authors 
have no conspicuous foothold among those opu- 
lent, symmetrical volumes that stand on drill in rich 
men's libraries, as well uniformed and as untried 
as a smart militia regiment. They have been sel- 
dom seen in the lists of the hundred best books. 
The committees who select reading matter for their 
native towns are often unacquainted with their 
titles. The great department stores of our great 
cities never offer them to the great public in twenty- 
five cent editions. Yet they live for centuries a 
tranquil life of dignified seclusion. When they are 
lifted down from their remote corners on the book- 
shelves, it is with a friendly touch. The hands 
that hold them, caress them. The eyes that glance 
over them, smile at the familiar pages. Their read- 
ers feel for them a personal sentiment, approach- 
ing them with mental ease, and with a sweet and 
certain intimacy of companionship. These authors 
grow very shabby as the years roll by, and some- 
times — though rarely — a sympathetic publisher 



vi INTRODUCTION 

turns his attention from the whirling vortex of new 
books, and gives them a fresh outfit; presents them 
— if he has a generous soul — with the clearest of 
type, the finest of paper, the richest and most appro- 
priate of bindings. So embellished, they enjoy little 
dignified triumphs of their own, and become the 
cherished property of that ever diminishing minor- 
ity who, by some happy turn of fate, are fitted to 
enjoy the pleasure which literary art can give. 

Such a writer — half forgotten, yet wholly be- 
loved — is James Howell, "Clerk of the Council 
in Extraordinary," under Charles I, "Historio- 
grapher Royal," under Charles II, author of three- 
score works now laid to rest, and of the " Famil- 
iar Letters" which can never be laid to rest until 
accurate observation, a lively narrative, and a 
genius for seizing the one right word have lost 
their power to please. A student of the world was 
James Howell, a man of wide experience and of 
fluctuating fortunes. The descendant of an old and 
honourable Welsh family, with titled relatives of 
whom he felt reasonably proud, he was yet poor 
in estate, as befitted one of a country clergyman's 
fifteen children ; so that while his elder brother 
was the august Bishop of Bristol, his younger ones 
were apprenticed to trade, like lads of ignoble 
birth. Being, happily, but the second son, his own 
tuition was of the best. Sent to a " choice metho- 
dical school " at Hereford, he was early beaten into 
a love of learning; and at Oxford he acquired — 
or so at least he says — " the patrimony of a liberal 



INTRODUCTION vii 

education." Thus equipped, it behooved him to 
carve his own career, and the congenial fashion in 
which he set about accomplishing this difficult task 
was by travelling for three years as the agent of a 
London glass factory, the owners of which sought 
to obtain workmen, materials, and inspiration from 
the great artistic centres of Europe. 

Never was a happier chance thrown in a young 
man's way. Never was there a more cheerful and 
observant voyager. Byron's sensible axiom, '^ Com- 
fort must not be expected by folks that go a-plea- 
suring," expressed to perfection young Howell's 
point of view. " Rocked and shaken " at sea, beset 
by countless difficulties on land, he ever stoutly 
maintained " that though these frequent removes 
and tumblings under climes of differing temper 
were not without some danger, yet the delight 
which accompany 'd them was far greater; and it is 
impossible for any man to conceive the true plea- 
sure of peregrination, but he who actually enjoys, 
and puts it into practice." Before quitting Eng- 
land, he obtained a warrant from the Council, 
authorizing him to remain for three years on the 
Continent, and to visit any spot he chose, with the 
exception of Rome, and St Omer, where stood the 
great Jesuit college. Such was the parental care 
which Protestant England in King James' day took 
of her children's faith, — an astute precaution for 
the most part, but needless in this particular case. 
Howell possessed all his life that tolerance, almost 
amounting to sympathy, for other people's creeds 



viii INTRODUCTION 

which can be trusted to leave a man serenely root- 
ed in his own. He never offered friction enough 
to light a fresh fire. His admiration for the fa- 
mous shrine at Monserrat was as untroubled by pious 
scruples as was his admiration for the Arsenal of 
Venice, or the wine of Valentia. When he found 
himself without funds in Turin, he philosophically 
joined a band of pilgrims, and " with gentle pace 
and easy journeys " proceeded on foot to Lyons. It 
is true that in a letter written years later to Sir 
Edward Knight, a letter in which he confesses am- 
ple tolerance for Turk and infidel, as bearing " the 
same stamp that I do, though the inscription dif- 
fer,*' he adds somewhat unexpectedly that he " could 
be content to see an Anabaptist go to Hell on a 
Brownist's back ; ** but this was the expression of 
a civic rather than of a religious animosity. Turks 
stayed in Turkey, out of sight and hearing ; and 
infidels went their regrettable way in silence. But 
for " those schismatics that puzzle the sweet peace 
of the church," as well as for all who were " pen- 
dulous and brangling in religion," he had a strong 
instinctive dislike. The passion for controversy 
which flamed high in his day left him wholly and 
happily unconcerned. 

This mental calm permitted Howell to enjoy 
the ripe fruits of that great Latin civilization which 
was then ebbing slowly from its marvellous heights 
of fulfilment. The beauty and the glory of Italy 
held him spellbound. What generous epithets he 
lavishes upon those superb cities whose very names 



INTRODUCTION ix 

set the world's heart a-beating. " Venice the rich, 
Padua the learned, Bologna the fat, Rome the 
holy, Naples the gentle, Genoa the proud, Flor- 
ence the fair, and Milan the great." The first 
beautiful woman, he tells us, was made of Venice 
glass, lovely, and brittle withal ; and " Eve spake 
Italian when Adam was seduced," for in what 
other tongue could she have been so irresistible ? 
Notwithstanding the injunction of the Council, 
he made his way to Rome, and, with a swift and 
sure intuition, — rare in the island-born, — pro- 
nounces it " Communis Patria." " For every one 
that is within the compass of the Latin Church 
finds himself here, as it were, at home, and in his 
mother's house, in regard of interest in religion, 
which is the cause that for one native, there be 
five strangers that sojourn in this city." 

For Spain, too, Howell has his meed of praise, 
extolling alike the manners of the great, who 
never gave an alms save with courtesy, and the self- 
respect of the poor, whom he found to be sturdy 
and rational, with none of the servility of the down- 
trodden French peasant. He warms into eloquence 
over the free Biscayan shore, virgin of Moors for 
seven hundred years, and tells us that the King 
of Spain always pulled off one shoe before tread- 
ing on that honoured soil, which he is proud to 
compare to unconquered Wales. His characteristic 
closeness of observation is everywhere apparent, 
whether it be in a brief and careless statement, as 
" 'Tis no new thing for the French to be always 



X INTRODUCTION 

a-doing ; they have a stirring genius ; " or, in the 
epitomized history of the Netherlands which he 
" huddled up " a few years later at Antwerp, and 
which is concise, graphic, tolerant, entertaining, 
everything, — save perhaps accurate, — that his- 
tory ought to be. 

On his return to England, Howell was engaged 
as a travelling tutor for the two young sons of 
Lord Savage ; but unable or unwilling to fill so 
responsible a post for Roman Catholic pupils, he 
reluctantly abandoned this " dainty race of chil- 
dren," and accepted a somewhat similar position 
with Richard Altham, son of Baron Altham, and 
" one of the hopefullest young men of this king- 
dom." In 1622 he had the rare good fortune to 
be appointed a royal agent, and sent to Spain in 
the interests of the Turkey Company, which 
claimed compensation from the Spanish Govern- 
ment for the seizure of one of its ships by the 
Viceroy of Sardinia. Full of hope, and proud of 
the importance of his mission, Howell flung him- 
self with ardour into a business which might have 
reasonably discouraged an older man. He read 
all the papers pertaining to the suit, " and I find 
they are higher than I in bulk, tho' closely 
pressed together;" he pushed his claim whenever 
and wherever he could find a hearing ; he made 
perceptible progress, and was confident of success, 
when suddenly on the evening of March 7, 
there appeared in Madrid two English travellers, 
Mr John Smith, and Mr Thomas Smith, who 



INTRODUCTION xi 

within a few hours were discovered to be Charles, 
Prince of Wales, and the Marquis of Buckingham. 
A more disastrous episode for Howell, or a 
more fortunate one for his readers, it would be 
hard to Imagine. Nothing can be livelier than his 
account of this strange adventure which set the 
world agape. How Mr Thomas Smith (Buck- 
ingham), "with a portmantle under his arm," 
knocked at Lord Bristol's gates, while Mr John 
Smith (the Prince) waited in the dark on the other 
side of the street. How Lord Bristol, "in a kind 
of astonishment,'* conducted his strange visitors 
into his bed-chamber, and sent off a post that 
night to England, to acquaint the King of their 
arrival. How the Spanish Court was thrown into 
confusion, and the Infanta — for whose sake the 
Prince had hazarded this voyage — began, like fair 
Katharine of France, the ardent study of English. 
How the Prince leaped the wall of the Casa de 
Campo to have speech with his lady, and she 
fled shrieking from so bold a Wooer. How the 
common people of Spain were mightily pleased 
with the Englishman's gallantry, and swore that 
he and their Infanta should have been wedded 
the night he reached Madrid. How Lord Bristol, 
in anticipation of the marriage ceremony, caused 
thirty new liveries of watchet velvet and silver lace 
to be made for his household, " the best sort 
whereof were valued at eighty pounds a livery ;" 
— and we prate now about the ruinous expenses 
which our ambassadors are forced to meet ! How, 



xii INTRODUCTION 

after months of excitement, the bubble collapsed, 
the great match came to naught, and the affronted 
Spaniards were left in no mood to conciliate Eng- 
land, or reimburse the Turkey Company; — all 
these things are described in the " Familiar Let- 
ters " with a wealth of picturesque detail which 
only an eye-witness can supply. 

The failure of his negotiations left young How- 
ell rich in nothing but experience, and we find him 
next acting as secretary to Lord Scroop, " a stable 
home employment," with which he was marvel- 
lously well content. By this time King James was 
dead, the Scottish doctors had ceased muttering 
dark doubts concerning the plaister which the 
Countess of Buckingham had applied to His Maj- 
esty's stomach, and Charles the First had begun, 
under melancholy auspices, — which the letters do 
not fail to note, — his unhappy and disastrous reign. 
In 1628 Howell was sent to Parliament, as member 
for Richmond ; and in 1632 the Earl of Leicester, 
then quitting England as Ambassador Extraor- 
dinary to the Court of Denmark, offered him the 
post of secretary, an offer immediately accepted. 
The purpose of the embassy was to condole with 
the Danish King on the death of the Queen Dow- 
ager, grandmother of Charles the First, — a lady 
of great thrift and enterprise, who was reputed to 
have been the richest queen in Christendom. A 
merry condolence it was, as befitted the mourning 
of an heir. To Howell, as orator, was consigned 
the congenial task of making three long Latin ora- 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

tions; — one to the King of Denmark, one to his 
eldest son, Prince Christian, and a third to Prince 
Frederick, Archbishop of Bremen. After these 
preliminaries were over, the real business of mourn- 
ing began, and Howell betrays a justifiable pride 
at the ability of an English nobleman to cope 
with the mighty drinkers of the North. 

" The King feasted my Lord once, and it lasted 
from eleven of the clock till towards the evening, 
during which time the King began thirty-five 
healths ; — the first to the Emperor, the second 
to his nephew of England, and so went over all 
the Kings and Queens of Christendom ; but he 
never remembered the Prince Palsgrave's health, 
nor his niece's all the while. The King was taken 
away at last in his chair, but my Lord of Leices- 
ter bore up stoutly all the while ; so that when 
there came two of the King's Guard to take him 
by the arms, as he was going down the stairs, my 
Lord shook them off, and went alone. 

" The next morning I went to Court for some 
despatches, but the King was gone a-hunting at 
break of day ; but going to some other of his 
officers, their servants told me without any ap- 
pearance of shame that their masters were drunk 
overnight, and so it would be late before they 
would rise." 

It was after his return from this diplomatic mis- 
sion that Howell, disappointed in his hopes of of- 
fice, settled in London, and "commenced author" 
with the publication of " Dodona's Grove, or the 



XIV INTRODUCTION 

Vocall Concert," and of a poem, "The Vote," ded- 
icated as a New Year's gift to the King. There is 
little doubt that he was at this time a royalist "in- 
telligencer," and that his ingrained habit of collect- 
ing news made him a useful servant of the crown. 
It was a difficult and somewhat dangerous game 
to play, — rewards and penalties following in quick 
succession. In August, 1642, he was appointed 
Clerk of the Council in Extraordinary, and four 
months later he was arrested by order of the Long 
Parliament, and summarily committed to the Fleet, 
then used as a prison for political offenders as well 
as for less fortunate debtors. 

In the Fleet Howell remained (I will not say 
languished, for he was not the type of captive to 
languish) for eight long years. He always stoutly 
maintained that he was imprisoned for loyalty to 
his king; but Anthony a Wood asserts with some 
churlishness that he was arrested for debt, " being 
prodigally inclined." The truth seems to be that 
his debts afforded a reasonable excuse for his im- 
prisonment; and that Parliament had no mind to 
set him free while there was still a field for his 
activities. Perhaps the Fleet saved him from 
greater perils. It certainly afforded him both an 
opportunity and an incentive to write. We owe 
a great deal in letters to those long leisurely cap- 
tivities which gave the prisoner solitude, quiet, 
time for meditation, an opening for philosophy, 
and — if he were nobly disposed — a chance to 
purge his soul, to refine it in the fires of affliction. 



INTRODUCTION xV 

** Stone walls do not a prison make. 
Nor iron bars a cage ; 
Minds innocent and quiet take 
These for a hermitage." 

Howell, it is true, petitioned resolutely for his 
release, — how could a man do less? — but he 
wrote many more profitable things than petitions 
during the eight years that he remained in the 
Fleet. Among a score of books and pamphlets 
dating from this period are his " Perfect Descrip- 
tion of the People and Country of Scotland,'* — a 
work which Scotchmen were never known to love; 
and " Instructions for Forreine Travel" (the earli- 
est forerunner of Murray), with a dedication in 
verse to the young Prince of Wales, in which that 
promising youth is likened — on the score of 
swarthiness, there being no other points of resem- 
blance — to the Black Prince. In 1645 appeared 
the first volume of letters under the comprehensive 
title, " Epistolae Ho-Elianae : Familiar Letters, 
Domestic and Foreign, divided into Sundry Sec- 
tions, partly Historical, Political and Philosoph- 
ical," — a title which conscientiously told all it 
had to tell. The book was dedicated to the King 
in a few simple and sensible words, its author 
venturing to remind His Majesty that many of 
its pages recalled his own royal deeds. "And *tis 
well known that letters can treasure up and trans- 
mit matters of State to posterity with as much 
faith, and be as authentic registers, and safe repos- 
itories of truth as any story whatsoever." 



xvi INTRODUCTION 

The success of the venture induced Howell, 
who sorely needed money, to publish a second 
volume of letters while he was still in the Fleet, 
and a third and fourth after his release in 1651. 
By this date, England, for the first time in all her 
glorious history, had no longer a king to accept 
panegyrics; and Howell, nothing daunted, turned 
his attention to the Lord Protector, to whom, in 
1655, he dedicated a pamphlet entitled "Some 
Sober Inspections made into the Carriage and 
Consults of the late Long Parliament." Exulting, 
not unnaturally, in the overthrow of his old ene- 
mies, he compared Cromwell's drastic measures 
with those of that somewhat arbitrary ruler, Charles 
Martel, which commendation, though much cen- 
sured by royalists, seems to have been tolerably 
sincere. Howell loved and revered the monar- 
chy. It was his reasonable hope that Charles II 
would at some distant day succeed to his father's 
throne ; but in the mean time Cromwell was a 
strong man, armed, keeping his court, and those 
things were in peace which he possessed. Like 
Carlyle, Howell had a natural taste for "one man 
power," and profoundly distrusted that "waver- 
ing, windy thing," that " humoursome and cross- 
grained animal," the common Englishman, or, 
indeed, the common citizen of any land. The 
tolerant King understood, and probably sympa- 
thized with this mental attitude, for, a year after 
the Restoration, he granted the author two hun- 
dred pounds from his privy purse ; and subse- 



INTRODUCTION xvii 

quently appointed him to the office of Histori- 
ographer General, with a salary of one hundred 
pounds a year, which — like most salaries of the 
period — was seldom or never paid. 

To the end of his life Howell wrote with the 
unabated industry of a needy man. That he felt 
himself ill-used is proved by his sarcastic "Cordial 
for Cavaliers," in which he essays to console his 
fellow sufferers for the supposed neglect of their 
monarch by proffering them a wealth of bitter and 
unsustaining philosophy. A fusillade of broad- 
sheets followed its publication ; for Howell had 
his enemies, and some of them were of the opinion 
that the man who had so enthusiastically com- 
pared Cromwell to Charles Martel should have 
been more modest in demanding rewards from 
Charles Stuart, who, indeed, would have needed 
a world as wide as Alexander's to have satisfied all 
petitioners. It is pleasant to know, however, that 
when Howell died at the ripe age of seventy-one, 
he was able to leave a number of small legacies, 
among them two to his sisters, Gwin and Roberta- 
ap-Rice, — names that thrill the ordinary reader 
with delight. He was buried, by his own desire, 
in the Temple Church, and his monument, for 
which he bequeathed the sum of thirty pounds, 
is still in excellent preservation, though few there 
are who pause to read its modest Latin inscription. 

It is useless at this late date to ask captious 
questions anent the integrity of the "Familiar 
Letters." Of the threescore works, ranging from 



xviii INTRODUCTION 

broadsheets to folios, which Howell left behind 
him, they alone have survived the wear and tear 
of centuries. They have been read for nearly 
three hundred years, and are likely to be read 
with unshaken delight for at least three hundred 
more. That he wrote them all is certain. That 
some of them are the original texts, we have every 
reason to believe. People who received letters in 
those appreciative days treasured them sacredly, 
and our best friend, the waste-paper basket, seems 
to have been then unknown. Howell would have 
had no great difficulty in securing the return of 
part of his correspondence. Moreover, it is likely 
that so prudent and methodical a gentleman kept 
copies or rough draughts of his more important 
letters, — a reprehensible custom which it is not 
for us, who in this instance profit by it, to criticize. 
We know, too, that it was his habit, especially 
while abroad, to jot down the " notablest occur- 
rences ** of each day in a " fair alphabetique paper 
book ; " and it was from such a valuable reserve 
that he drew his epistolary supplies. To pro- 
nounce the letters mere fabrications on the traduc- 
ing evidence of Anthony a Wood would be to fly 
far of the mark. They are too full of intimate 
detail, of local colour, of little tell-tale accuracies 
for any such undermining theory. But if some 
of them were, indeed, fresh minted in the Fleet, 
composed in that dim soHtude, when memories 
of the wide sunlit world he had traversed so mer- 
rily thronged through the prisoner's mind, we, at 



INTRODUCTION xix 

least, have no reason to complain. It would have 
been hard to turn captivity to better purpose. 

In the " Familiar Letters," as in many another 
old and seldom acknowledged book, we find a 
store of curious anecdotes which have been retold 
ever since, to the enrichment of more modern 
authors. Howell listened with equal interest — and 
equal credulity — to the gossip of foreign courts, 
to the " severe jests " which passed from mouth 
to mouth, and to the marvellous stories of the 
common people. He tells us the tale of the Pied 
Piper of Hamelin, prefacing it with the grave 
assurance that he would not relate it, " were there 
not some ground of truth in it." He tells us of 
the bird with a white breast which presaged the 
death of all the Oxenham family ; and the pleas- 
ant story of the Duke of Ossuna and the galley 
slaves ; and about that devout Earl of Hapsburg 
who, by a single act of piety, laid the foundation 
of his family's greatness. He tells us the pitiful 
tale of the Sire de Coucy, who, dying in battle 
with the Turk, bade his servant carry back his 
heart to the Dame de Fayel, whom he had long 
and ardently loved. This gift the lady's husband 
intercepted, and had it made into a " well-relished 
dish," which he compelled his wife to eat, assur- 
ing her it was a cordial for her weakness. When 
she had eaten it all, he revealed to her the truth ; 
whereupon, " in a sudden exaltation of joy, she 
with a far-fetch'd sigh said, * This is a precious 
cordial indeed ; ' and so lick'd the dish, saying. 



XX INTRODUCTION 

* It is so precious that 'tis pity to put ever any 
meat upon 't/ So she went to bed, and in the 
morning she was found stone-dead." 

Howell's style is eminently well adapted for 
the news-letter, for a form of composition which 
requires vividness and lucidity rather than grace 
and distinction. He writes in sentences of easy 
length and simple construction, discarding for the 
most part those sonorous and labyrinthine 
masses of words in which the scholarly writers 
of his day wrapped up their serious thoughts. 
A letter, he tells us, should be " short-coated and 
closely couch'd," and he has scant patience with 
those who " preach when they should epistolize." 
No one has ever surpassed him in the narrator's 
art of snatching the right word, of remembering 
and recording those precise details which can be 
trusted to give value and vraisemblance, of tell- 
ing a lively and unembarrassed tale. His account 
of the Duke of Buckingham's murder, of the 
visit of the Prince of Wales to Madrid, of the 
hideous execution of Ravaillac, are so vigorous 
and sympathetic, so full of intimate and signifi- 
cant touches, that it is hard to realize he was not 
always an eye-witness of the events so graphically 
described. He gathered his information from 
every available source, and often with astonishing 
speed. The postmaster of Stilton came to his 
bedside to tell him that the Duke of Buckingham 
had been killed ; and the Earl of Rutland, riding 
in all haste to London, alighted from his horse to 



INTRODUCTION xxi 

confirm the news, and to add picturesque partic- 
ulars, which Howell in his turn sent off without 
an hour's delay to the Countess of Sunderland. 
It sounds like the inspired methods of the re- 
porter. 

None of the impersonality of the modern news- 
vender, however, can be charged to Howell's ac- 
count. His motto. 



**As keys do open chests. 
So letters open breasts,'* 



but faintly indicates the exhaustive nature of his 
unreserve. At every period of his career we see 
him with extraordinary distinctness. A man full 
of the zest of life, of sanguine temperament, of cath- 
olic tastes, of restless and indomitable energy. A 
man who met misfortunes bravely, and who was 
touched to finer issues by the austere hand of ad- 
versity. An outspoken man withal, after the fash- 
ion of his day, whose occasional grossness of tongue 
— or of pen — seems due, less to the love of pru- 
rient things, than to the absence of that guiding 
principle of taste, which in every age can be trusted 
to keep finely-bred natures uncontaminate. "The 
priggish little clerk of King Charles' Council," 
Thackeray calls Howell, — perhaps because he 
enjoyed making Latin orations, and quotes the 
classics oftener than seems imperative. But of 
the essence of priggishness, which is measuring big 
things by small standards, the author of the " Fa- 
miliar Letters " is nowhere guilty. A devout 



xxii INTRODUCTION 

churchman who reverenced other men's creeds ; 
a loyal English subject who loved other lands than 
his ; a cheerful traveller who forgave France her 
Frenchmen, and Spain her Spaniards ; a philo- 
sopher whose philosophy stood the strain of mis- 
fortune ; — Howell exhibits some finer qualities 
than the soul of a prig can sustain. A hundred 
years before the publication of the " Letters," 
that revered scholar, Roger Ascham, wrote with 
pious self-content : " I was once in Italy myself; 
but I thank God my abode th-ere was but nine 
days." A hundred years after Howell had been 
laid to rest, a respected English gentleman, Mr 
Edgeworth, prefaced his work on education with 
this complacency : 

" To pretend to teach courage to Britons would 
be as ridiculous as it is unnecessary ; and, except 
among those who are exposed to the contagion of 
foreign manners, we may boast of the superior de- 
licacy of our fair countrywomen; a delicacy acquired 
from domestic example, and confirmed by public 
approbation.'* 

Between these triumphant insularities let us read 
what the "little clerk of King Charles' Council" 
has to say. He is writing from Naples to one 
" Christopher Jones of Gray's Inn." 

" Believe it. Sir, that a year well employed abroad 
by one of mature judgment (which you know I 
want very much) advantageth more in point of use- 
ful and solid knowledge than three in any of our 
universities. You know ' running waters are the 



INTRODUCTION xxiii 

purest,* so they that traverse the world up and 
down have the clearest understanding ; being faith- 
ful eye-witnesses of those things which others re- 
ceive but in trust, whereunto they must yield an 
intuitive consent, and a kind of implicit faith." 

It is certainly not Howeirs page that mirrors 
forth the prig. 

The " Familiar Letters " stand in little need of 
erudite notes. The incidents they relate, the people 
they describe, are for the most part well known, 
or, at least, easy to know. The fantastic stories 
had best be taken as they stand. The dim quota- 
tions fade from our memories. The characteristic 
quality of the letters is their readability, and to 
the reader — as apart from the student — Howell 
is sufficient for himself. Many of his pages are 
dated from the Fleet, when the high hopes of 
youth lie dead, when the keenness of the observant 
traveller is dimmed, and his grossness purged by 
fire. He measures levelly his loss and gain, and 
accepts both with a half whimsical philosophy which 
is not too lofty to be loved. It is after three years 
of captivity that he writes thus to Philip Warwick: 

" I have been so habituate to this prison, and 
accustomed to the walls thereof so long, that I might 
well be brought to think that there is no other 
world behind them. And in my extravagant im- 
aginations, I often compare this Fleet to Noah's 
Ark, surrounded with a vast sea, and huge deluge 
of calamities which hath overwhelmed this poor 
island. Nor, altho' I have been so long aboard 



xxiv INTRODUCTION 

here, was I yet under hatches, for I have a cabin 
upon the upper deck, whence I breathe the best air 
the place affords; add hereunto that the society 
of Master Hopkins the Warden is an advantage to 
me, who is one of the knowingest and most civil 
gentlemen that I have con vers'd withal. Moreover, 
there are here some choice gentlemen who are my 
co-martyrs ; for a prisoner and a martyr are the 
same thing, save that the one is buried before his 
death, and the other after." 

Perhaps a sweet reasonableness of character is 
the quality which, above all others, holds our hearts 
in keeping ; and so the " Familiar Letters " are 
sure of their remote corner on the book-shelf, and 
the gods — not always unresponsive — have given 
to James Howell the coveted boon of being from 
generation to generation his reader's friend. 

AGNES REPPLIER. 



THE VOTE, OR A POEM- ROYAL 

PRESENTED TO 
HIS MAJESTY FOR A NEW YEAr's GIFT, BY WAY 

OF discourse betwixt the poet 

AND HIS MUSE 
Calendts "Januarii i6^i 

POEMA 

'^TpyjveriKov 

THE world's bright eye, Time's measurer, begun 
Through watery Capricorn his course to run. 
Old Janus hastened on, his temples bound 
With Ivy, his grey hairs with holly crowned j 
When in a serious quest my thoughts did muse 
What gift, as best becoming, I should choose 
To Britain's monarch (my dread sovereign) bring. 
Which might supply a New Year's offering. 
I rummaged all my stores, and searched my cells 
Where nought appeared, God wot, but bagatelles; 
No far-fetched Indian gem cut out of rock. 
Or fished in shells, were trusted under lock, 
No piece which Angelo's strong fancy hit. 
Or Titian's pencil, or rare Hillyard's wit. 
No ermines, or black sables, no such skins 
As the grim Tartar hunts or takes in gins ; 
No medals, or rich stuff of Tyrian dye, 
No costly bowls of frosted argentry, 



xxvi THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL 

No curious landscape, or some marble piece 
Digged up in Delphos, or elsewhere in Greece ; 
No Roman perfumes, buffs, or cordovans 
Made drunk with amber by Moreno's hands, 
No arras or rich carpets freighted o'er 
The surging seas from Asia's doubtful shore, 
No lion's cub or beast of strange aspect. 
Which in Numidia's fiery womb had slept. 
No old Toledo blades, or Damaskins, 
No pistols, or some rare-spring carabines. 
No Spanish ginet or choice stallion sent 
From Naples or hot Afric's continent. 

In fine, I nothing found I could descry 
Worthy the hands of Caesar or his eye. 

My wits were at a stand, when lo ! my muse 
(None of the choir, but such as they do use 
For laundresses or handmaids of mean rank 
I knew sometimes on Po and Isis' bank) 
Did softly buz. 

Muse 
Then let me something bring, 



May handsel the New Year to Charles, rtiy king, 
May usher in bi fronted Janus 

Poet 
Thou fond, foolhardy Muse, thou silly thing. 
Which 'mongst the shrubs and reeds dost use to sing, 
Dar'st thou perk up, and the tall cedar climb. 
And venture on a king with jingling rhyme ? 
Though all thy words were pearls, thy letters gold, 
And cut in rubies, or cast in a mould 
Of diamonds, yet still thy lines would be 
Too mean a gift for such a majesty. 



THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL xxvii 

Muse 
I '11 try, and hope to pass without disdain, 
In New Year's gifts the mind stands for the main. 
The Sophy, finding 't was well meant, did deign 
Few drops of running water from a swain. 
Then sure 't will please my liege if I him bring 
Some gentle drops from the Castalian spring ; 
Though rareties I want of such account. 
Yet have I something on the forked mount, 
'T is not the first or third access I made 
To Caesar's feet, and thence departed glad. 
For as the sun with his male heat doth render 
Nile's muddy slime fruitful, and apt t' engender, 
And daily to produce new kind of creatures 
Of various shapes and thousand differing features, 
So is my fancy quickened by the glance 
Of his benign aspect and countenance. 
It makes me pregnant, and to superfete 
Such is the vigour of his beams and heat. 
Once in a vocal forest I did sing. 
And made the oak to stand for Charles my King: 
The best of trees, whereof (it is no vaunt) 
The greatest schools of Europe sing and chant : 
There you shall also find Dame Arhetine,' 
Great Henry's daughter, and Great Britain's queen. 
Her name engraven in a laurel tree. 
And so transmitted to eternity. 
For now I hear that Grove speaks besides mine, 
The language of the Loire, the Po, and Rhine 
(And to my Prince (my sweet Black Prince) of late, 
I did a youthful subject dedicate). 
Nor do I doubt but that in time my trees 
Will yield me fruit to pay Apollo's fees 
To offer up whole hecatombs of praise 



xxviii THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL 

To Caesar, if on them he cast his rays, 
And if my lamp have oil, I may compile 
The modern annals of great Albion's isle, 
To vindicate the truth of Charles his reign, 
From scribbling pamphleteers who story stain 
With loose imperfect passages, and thrust 
Lame things upon the world, ta*en up in trust. 

I have had audience (in another strain) 
Of Europe's greatest kings, when German main 
And the Cantabrian waves I crossed, I drank 
Of Tagus, Seine, and sat at Tiber's bank. 
Through Scylla and Charybdis I have steered. 
Where restless ^Etna's belching flames appeared, 
By Greece, once Pallas' garden, then I pass'd. 
Now all o'er-spread with ignorance and waste, 
Nor hath fair Europe her vast bounds throughout, 
An academy of note I found not out. 

But now I hope in a successful prore. 
The Fates have fixed me on sweet England's shore, 
And by these various wanderings true I found. 
Earth is our common Mother, every ground 
May be one's country, for by birth each man 
Is in this world a cosmopolitan, 
A free-born burgess, and receives thereby 
His denization from nativity. 
Nor is this lower world but a huge inn. 
And men the rambling passengers, wherein 
Some do warm lodgings find, and that as soon 
As out of nature's closets they see noon. 
And find the table ready laid ; but some 
Must for their commons trot and trudge for room. 
With easy pace some climb Promotion's Hill, 
Some in the dale, do what they can, stick still j 
Some through false glasses Fortune smiling spy, 



THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL xxix 

Who still keeps ofF, though she appears hard by : 

Some like the ostrich with her wings do flutter, 

But cannot fly or soar above the gutter. 

Some quickly fetch, and double Good Hope's Cape, 

Some ne'er can do 't though the same course they shape. 

So that poor mortals are so many balls 

Tossed some o*er line, some under fortune's walls. 

And it is heaven's high pleasure man should lie 
Obnoxious to his partiality. 
That by industrious ways he should contend 
Nature's short pittance to improve and mend ; 
Now, industry never failed, at last to advance 
Her patient sons above the reach of chance. 

Poet 
But whither rov'st thou thus ? 



Well ; since I see thou art so strongly bent. 
And of a gracious look so confident. 
Go, and throw down thyself at Caesar's feet, 
And in thy best attire thy sovereign greet. 
Go, an auspicious and most blessful year 
Wish him, as e'er shined o'er this hemisphere. 
Good may the entrance, better the middle be. 
And the conclusion best of all the three ; 
Of joy ungrudged may each day be a debtor. 
And every morn still usher in a better. 
May the soft gliding Nones and every Ide, 
With all the Calends still some good betide. 
May Cynthia with kind looks, and Phoebus' rays. 
One clear his nights, the other gild his days. 
Free limbs, unphysicked health, due appetite. 
Which no sauce else but hunger may excite, 
Sound sleeps, green dreams be his, which represent 
Symptoms of health, and the next day's content j 



XXX THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL 

Cheerful and vacant thoughts, not always bound 
To counsel, or in deep ideas drowned 
(Though such late traverses, and tumults might 
Turn to a lump of care, the airiest wight) : 
And since while fragile flesh doth us array. 
The humours still are combating for sway 
(Which were they free from this reluctancy 
And counterpoised, man would immortal be). 
May sanguine o'er the rest predominate 
In him, and their malignant flux abate. 

May his great queen, in whose imperious eye 
Reigns such a world of winning majesty. 
Like the rich olive or Falernian vine 
Swell with more gems of Scions masculine ; 
And as her fruit sprung from the rose and luce 
(The best of stems earth yet did e'er produce) 
Is tied already by a sanguine lace 
To all the kings of Europe's high-born race. 
So may they shoot their youthful branches o'er 
The surging seas ; and graflP with every shore. 

May home commerce and trade increase from far. 
Till both the Indies meet within his bar. 
And bring in mounts of coin his mints to feed. 
And bankers (traflic's chief supporters) breed, 
Which may enrich his kingdoms, court and town, 
And ballast still the coffers of the crown. 
For kingdoms are as ships, the prince his chests 
The ballast, which if empty, when distress't 
With storms, their holds are lightly trimmed the keel 
Can run no steady course, but toss and reel ; 
May his imperial Chamber always ply 
To his desires her wealth to multiply. 
That she may praise his royal favour more 
Than all the wares fetched from the great Mogor, 



THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL xxxi 

May the Grand Senate,^ with the subject's right. 

Put in the counter-scale the regal might, 

The flowers o' the crown, that they may prop each other. 

And like the Grecian's twin, live, love together. 

For the chief glory of a people is. 

The power of their king, as their's is his ; 

May he be still within himself at home. 

That no just passion make the reason roam. 

Yet passions have their turns to rouse the soul. 

And stir her slumbering spirits, not control ; 

For as the ocean besides ebb and flood 

(Which Nature's greatest clerk 3 ne'er understood) 

Is not for sail, if an impregning wind 

Fill not the flagging canvas, so a mind 

Too calm is not for action, if desire 

Heats not itself at passion's quickening fire. 

For Nature is allowed sometimes to muster 

Her passions, so they only blow, not bluster. 

May Justice still in her true scales appear, 
And honour fixed in no unworthy sphere. 
Unto whose palace all access should have 
Through virtue's temple, hot through Pluto's cave. 

May his true subjects' hearts be his chief fort. 
Their purse his treasure and their love his port. 
Their prayers as sweet incense, to draw down 
Myriads of blessings on his queen and crown. 

And now that his glad presence did assuage 
That fearful tempest in the north did rage. 
May those frog vapours in the Irish sky 
Be scattered by the beams of majesty. 
That the Hibernian lyre give such a sound. 
May on our coasts with joyful echoes bound. 

And when this fatal planet leaves to lower 
Which too, too long on monarchies doth pour 



xxxii THE VOTE, OR A POEM-ROYAL 

His direful influence, may peace once more 

Descend from heaven on our tottering shore, 

And ride in triumph both on land and main. 

And with her milk-white steeds draw Charles his wain, 

That so, for those Saturnian times of old. 

An age of pearl may come in lieu of gold. 

Virtue still guide his course, and if there be 
A thing, as fortune, him accompany. 
May no ill genius haunt him, but by 's side, 
The best protecting angel ever bide. 

May he go on to vindicate the right 
Of holy things, and make the temple bright, 
To keep that faith, that sacred truth entire, 
Which he received from Solomon * his sire. 

And since we all must hence, by th' iron decree 
Stamped in the black records of destiny. 
Late may his life, his glory ne'er wear out, 
Till the great year of Plato wheel about. 
So prayeth 
The worst of poets 

to 
The best of princes, 

yet 
The most loyal of 

his 
Votaries and vassals, 

James Howell. 

Comment. 

* Arhentine, id est virtuous. Anagram of Henrietta. 

* The Parliament. ' Hippocrates. 

* King James. 



TO THE KNOWING READER 

TOUCHING 

FAMILIAR LETTERS 

LOVE is the life of friendship, letters are 
The life of love, the loadstones that by rare 
Attraction make souls meet, and melt and mix, 
As when by fire exalted gold we fix. 
They are those winged postillions that can fly 
From the Antarctic to the Arctic sky. 
The heralds and swift harbingers that move 
From east to west on embassies of love j 
They can the tropics cut and cross the line. 
And swim from Ganges to the Rhone or Rhine, 
From Thames to Tagus, thence to Tiber run. 
And terminate their journey with the sun : 

They can the cabinets of kings unscrew. 
And hardest intricacies of State unclew ; 
They can the Tartar tell what the Mogor, 
Or the Great Turk doth on the Asian shore, 
The Knez of them may know what Prester John 
Doth with his camels in the torrid zone: 
Which made the Indian Inca think they were 
Spirits who in white sheets the air did tear. 

The lucky goose saved Jove's beleaguered hill, 
Once by her noise, but oftener by her quill. 
It twice prevented Rome was not o'errun 
By the tough Vandal and the rough-hewn Hun. 

Letters can plots though mouldered under ground 



xxxiv TO THE READER 

Disclose, and their fell complices confound ; 
Witness that fiery pile which would have blown 
Up to the clouds, prince, people, peers, and town, 
Tribunals, church, and chapel, and had dried 
The Thames, though swelling in her highest pride. 
And parboiled the poor fish, which from her sands 
Had been tossed up to the adjoining lands. 
Lawyers as vultures had soared up and down, 
Prelates like magpies in the air had flown. 
Had not the eagle's letter brought to light 
That subterranean horrid work of night. 

Credential letters, states, and kingdoms tie, 
And monarchs knit in league of amity ; 
They are those golden links that do enchain 
Whole nations though discinded by the main ; 
They are the soul of trade, they make commerce 
Expand itself throughout the universe. 

Letters may more than history enclose 
The choicest learning both in verse and prose; 
They knowledge can unto our souls display, 
By a more gentle and familiar way, 
The highest points of state and policy. 
The most severe parts of philosophy 
May be their subject, and their themes enrich, 
As well as private businesses, in which 
Friends use to correspond and kindred greet. 
Merchants negotiate, the whole world meet. 

In Seneca's rich letters is enshrined 
Whate'er the ancient sages left behind. 
Tully makes his the secret symptoms tell 
Of those distempers which proud Rome befell. 
When in her highest flourish she would make 
Her Tiber from the Ocean homage take. 



TO THE READER xxxv 

Great Antonine the emperor did gain 
More glory by his letters than his reign. 
His pen outlasts his pike, each golden line 
In his epistles doth his name enshrine. 
Aurelius by his letters did the same, 
And they in chief immortalise his fame. 

Words vanish soon, and vapour into air. 
While letters on record stand fresh and fair. 
And tell our nephews who to us were dear. 
Who our choice friends, who our familiars were. 
The bashful lover when his stammermg lips 
Falter, and fear some unadvised slips. 
May boldly court his mistress with the quill. 
And his hot passions to her breast enstil; 
The pen can furrow a fond female's heart, 
And pierce it more than Cupid's feigned dart. 
Letters a kind of magic virtue have. 
And like strong philtres human souls enslave. 

Speech is the index, letters ideas are 
Of the informing soul ; they can declare. 
And show the inward man, as we behold 
A face reflecting in a crystal mould : t 
They serve the dead and living, they become 
Attorneys and administers in some. 

Letters like Gordian knots do nations tie. 

Else all commerce and love 'twixt men would die. 

J. H. 



TO HIS MAJESTY 

THESE letters, addressed (most of them) to 
your best degrees of subjects, do, as so many- 
lines drawn from the circumference to the centre, 
all meet in your Majesty, who, as the law styles 
you the fountain of honour and grace, so you 
should be the centre of our happiness. If your 
Majesty vouchsafe them a gracious aspect, they 
may all prove letters of credit, if not credential let- 
ters, which sovereign princes use only to author- 
ise. They venture to go abroad into the vast ocean 
of the world, as letters of mart, to try their for- 
tunes ; and your Majesty being the greatest lord 
of sea under heaven, is fittest to protect them, and 
then they will not fear any human power. More- 
over, as this royal protection secures them from all 
danger, so it will infinitely conduce to the pros- 
perity of their voyage, and bring them to safe port 
with rich returns. 

Nor would these letters be so familiar as to 
presume upon so high a patronage, were not many 
of them records of your own royal actions ; and 
it is well known that letters can treasure up and 
transmit matters of State to posterity, with as much 
faith, and be as authentic registers and safe reposi- 
tories of truth, as any story whatsoever. 

This brings them to lie all prostrate at your feet 
with their author, who is, sir, your Majesty's most 
loyal subject and servant, HOWELL. 



w 



EPISTOL^ HO-ELIAN^ 
SECTION I 



BOOK I 

SECTION I 

I 

To Sir y. S,, at Leeds Castle 

IT was a quaint difference the ancients did put 
betwixt a letter and an oration, that the one 
should be attired like a woman, the other like a 
man. The latter of the two is allowed large side 
robes, as long periods, parentheses, similes, ex- 
amples, and other parts of rhetorical flourishes : 
but a letter or epistle should be short-coated, and 
closely couched ; a hungerlin becomes a letter more 
handsomely than a gown. Indeed we should write 
as we speak, and that 's a true familiar letter which 
expresseth one's mind, as if he were discoursing 
with the party to whom he writes in succinct and 
short terms. The tongue and the pen are both of 
them interpreters of the mind, but I hold the pen 
to be the more faithful of the two. The tongue in 
udo positdy being seated in a moist slippery place, 
may fail and falter in her sudden extemporal ex- 
pressions ; but the pen, having a greater advantage 
of premeditation, is not so subject to error, and 
leaves things behind it upon firm and authentic 
record. Now, letters, though they be capable of 



4 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

any subject, yet commonly they are either narra- 
tory, objurgatory, consolatory, monitory, or con- 
gratulatory. The first consists of relations, the 
second of reprehensions, the third of comfort, the 
last two of counsel and joy; there are some who 
in lieu of letters write homilies, they preach when 
they should epistolise ; there are others that turn 
them to tedious tractates ; this is to make letters 
degenerate from their true nature. Some modern 
authors there are who have exposed their letters to 
the world, but most of them, I mean among your 
Latin epistolisers,go freighted with mere Bartholo- 
mew ware, with trite and trivial phrases only, listed 
with pedantic shreds of schoolboy verses. Others 
there are among our next transmarine neighbours 
eastward, who write in their own language, but their 
style is so soft and easy that their letters may be 
said to be like bodies of loose flesh without sinews, 
they have neither joints of art nor arteries in them ; 
they have a kind of simpering and lank hectic 
expressions made up of a bombast of words and 
finical affected compHments only. I cannot well 
away with such sleazy stuff, with such cobweb com- 
positions, where there is no strength of matter, 
nothing for the reader to carry away with him, that 
may enlarge the iiotions of his soul. One shall 
hardly find an apothegm, example, simile, or any- 
thing of philosophy, history, or solid knowledge, 
or as much as one new created phrase, in a hun- 
dred of them ; and to draw any observations out 
of them were as if one went about to distil cream 



OF JAMES HOWELL 5 

out of froth ; insomuch that it may be said of them, 
what was said of the echo, " That she is a mere 
sound, and nothing else.** 

I return you your Balzac by this bearer, and 
when I found those letters, wherein he is so famil- 
iar with his king, so flat, and those to Richelieu, so 
puffed with profane hyperboles, and larded up and 
down with such gross flatteries, with others be- 
sides which he sends as urinals up and down the 
world to look into his water for the discovery of 
the crazy condition of his body, I forebore him 
further. — So I am your mostafi^ectionate servitor, 

J.H. 

Westminster, 25 July 1625. 

II 

To my Father upon my first going beyond Sea 

1 SHOULD be much wanting to myself, and 
to that obligation of duty, the law of God, and 
His handmaid Nature hath imposed upon me, if 
I should not acquaint you with the course and 
quality of my afl^airs and fortunes, specially at this 
time, that I am upon point of crossing the seas to 
eat my bread abroad. Nor is it the common rela- 
tion of a son that only induced me hereunto, but 
that most indulgent and costly care you have been 
pleased (in so extraordinary a manner) to have had 
of my breeding (though but one child of fifteen) 
by placing me in a choice methodical school (so 



6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

far distant from your dwelling) under a learned 
(though lashing) master ; and by transplanting me 
thence to Oxford, to be graduated ; and so holding 
me still up by the chin until I could swim without 
bladders. This patrimony of liberal education you 
have been pleased to endow me withal, I now 
carry along with me abroad, as a sure inseparable 
treasure; nor do I feel it any burden or encum- 
brance unto me at all. And what danger soever 
my person or other things I have about me, do 
incur, yet I do not fear the losing of this, either 
by shipwreck or pirates at sea, nor by robbers, or 
fire, or any other casualty ashore ; and at my re- 
turn to England, I hope at leastwise I shall do my 
endeavour that you may find this patrimony im- 
proved somewhat to your comfort. 

The main of my employment is from that gal- 
lant knight. Sir Robert Mansell, who, with my 
Lord of Pembroke, and divers other of the prime 
Lords of the Court, have got the sole patent of 
making all sorts of glass with pit-coal, only to 
save those huge proportions of wood which were 
consumed formerly in the glass furnaces ; and this 
business being of that nature, that the workmen 
are to be had from Italy, and the chief materials 
from Spain, France and other foreign countries, 
there is need of an agent abroad for this use (and 
better than I have offered their service in this 
kind), so that I believe I shall have employment 
in all these countries before I return. 

Had I continued still steward of the glass-house 



OF JAMES HOWELL -^ 

in Broad Street, where Captain Francis Bacon hath 
succeeded me, I should in a short time have melted 
away to nothing amongst those hot Venetians, find- 
ing myself too green for such a charge ; therefore 
it hath pleased God to dispose of me now to a condi- 
tion more suitable to my years, and that will, I hope, 
prove more advantageous to my future fortunes. 

In this my peregrination, if I happen, by some 
accident, to be disappointed of that allowance I 
am to subsist by, I must make my address to you, 
for I have no other rendezvous to flee unto ; but 
it shall not be, unless in case of great indigence. 

Touching the news of the time. Sir George 
Villiers, the new favourite, tapers up apace, and 
grows strong at Court. His predecessor, the Earl 
of Somerset, hath got a lease of ninety years for 
his life, and so hath his articulate lady, called so 
for articling against the frigidity and impotence of 
her former lord. She was afraid that Coke, the Lord 
Chief Justice (who had used such extraordinary 
art and industry in discovering all the circum- 
stances of the poisoning of Overbury) would 
have made white broth of them, but that the pre- 
rogative kept them from the pot ; yet the sub- 
servient instruments, the lesser flies could not 
break through, but lay entangled in the cobweb. 
Amongst others. Mistress Turner, the first inven- 
tress of yellow starch, was executed in a cobweb 
lawn ruff^ of that colour at Tyburn, and with her 
I believe that yellow starch, which so much dis- 
figured our nation and rendered them so ridicu- 



8 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

lous and fantastic, will receive its funeral. Sir 
Gervas Elwaies, Lieutenant of the Tower, was 
made a notable example of justice and terror to 
all officers of trust, for being accessory, and that 
in a passive way only to the murder, yet he was 
hanged on Tower Hill, and the caveat is very 
remarkable which he gave upon the gallows, that 
people should be very cautious how they make 
vows to heaven, for the breach of them seldom 
passes without a judgment, whereof he was a most 
ruthful example; for, being in the Low Coun- 
tries, and much given to gaming, he once made a 
solemn vow (which he broke afterwards) that if 
he played above such a sum, he might be hanged. 
My Lord (William) of Pembroke did a most 
noble act like himself; for the king, having given 
him all Sir Gervas Elwaies' estate, which came to 
above ^looo per annum, he freely bestowed it 
on the widow and her children. 

The latter end of this week I am to go a ship- 
board, and first for the Low Countries. I humbly 
pray your blessing may accompany me in these 
my travels by land and sea, with a continuance 
of your prayers, which will be as so many good 
gales to blow me to safe port ; for I have been 
taught that the parents* benedictions contribute 
very much, and have a kind of prophetic virtue 
to make the child prosperous. — In this opinion 
I shall ever rest, your dutiful son, J. H. 

Broad Street in London, this 
I of March 1618. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 



III 



To Dr Francis Mansell^ since Principal of 
Jesus College in Oxford 

BEING to take leave of England, and to 
launch out into the world abroad, to breathe 
foreign air a while, I thought it very handsome, 
and an act well becoming me, to take my leave 
also of you and of my dearly honoured mother 
Oxford. Otherwise both of you might have just 
grounds to exhibit a bill of complaint, or rather 
a protest against me, and cry me up ; you for a 
forgetful friend ; she, for an ungrateful son, if not 
some spurious issue. To prevent this, I salute 
you both together: you with the best of my 
most candid affections ; her, with my most duti- 
ful observance, and thankfulness for the milk she 
pleased to give me in that exuberance, had I 
taken it in that measure she offered it me while 
I slept in her lap ; yet that little I have sucked, 
I carry with me now abroad, and hope that this 
course of life will help to concoct it to a greater 
advantage, having opportunity, by the nature of 
my employment, to study men as well as books. 
The small time I supervised the glass-house I 
got amongst those Venetians some smatterings 
of the Italian tongue, which, besides the little I 
have, you know, of school languages, is all the 
preparatives I have made for travel. I am to go 



lo FAMILIAR LETTERS 

this week down to Gravesend, and so embark for 
Holland. I have got a warrant from the Lords 
of the Council to travel for three years any- 
where, Rome and St Omer excepted. I pray let 
me retain some room, though never so little, in 
your thoughts, during the time of this our separa- 
tion, and let our souls meet sometimes by inter- 
course of letters. I promise you that yours shall 
receive the best entertainment I can make them, 
for I love you dearly, dearly well, and value your 
friendship at a very high rate. — So with appre- 
ciation of as much happiness to you at home as 
I shall desire to accompany me abroad, I rest ever 
your friend to serve you, 

J. H. 
London, this 20 of March 161 8. 

IV 

To Sir James Crofts, Knight , at St Osith 

I COULD not shake hands with England with- 
out kissing your hands also; and because, 
in regard of your distance now from London, I 
cannot do it in person, I send this paper for my 
deputy. 

The news that keeps greatest noise here now is 
the return of Sir Walter Raleigh from his mine 
of gold in Guiana, the South parts of America, 
which at first was like to be such a hopeful boon 
voyage, but it seems that that golden mine is| 



OF JAMES HOWELL ii 

proved a mere chimera, an imaginary airy mine ; 
and, indeed, His Majesty had never any other 
conceit of it. But what will not one in captivity, 
as Sir Walter was, promise, to regain his freedom ? 
Who would not promise not only mines, but moun- 
tains of gold, for liberty ? And 't is pity such a 
knowing, well-weighed knight had not had a better 
fortune ; for the Destiny ( I mean that brave ship 
which he built himself of that name, that carried 
him thither ) is like to prove a fatal destiny to him, 
and to some of the rest of those gallant adventu- 
rers who contributed for the setting forth of thir- 
teen ships more, who were most of them his kins- 
men and younger brothers, being led into the said 
expedition by a general conceit the world had of 
the wisdom of Sir Walter Raleigh ; and many of 
these are like to make shipwreck of their estates 
by this voyage. Sir Walter landed at Plymouth, 
whence he thought to make an escape ; and some 
say he hath tampered with his body by physic, to 
make him look sickly, that he may be the more 
pitied, and permitted to lie in his own house. Count 
Gondamar, the Spanish Ambassador, speaks high 
language, and, sending lately to desire audience of 
His Majesty, he said he had but one word to tell 
him, His Majesty wondering what might be de- 
livered in one word ; when he came before him, he 
said only, "Pirates, Pirates, Pirates," and so de- 
parted. 

*T is true that he protested against this voyage 
before, and that it could not be but for some pre- 



12 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

datory design ; and that if it be as I hear, I fear it 
will go very ill with Sir Walter, and that Gonda- 
mar will never give him over till he hath his head 
off his shoulders, which may quickly be done, 
without any new arraignment, by virtue of the 
old sentence that lies still dormant against him, 
which he could never get off by pardon, notwith- 
standing that he mainly laboured in it before he 
went; but His Majesty could never be brought 
to it, for he said he would keep this as a curb to 
hold him within the bounds of his commission, 
and the good behaviour. 

Gondamar cries out that he hath broke the 
sacred peace betwixt the two kingdoms, that he 
hath fired and plundered Santo Thoma, a colony 
the Spaniards had planted with so much blood, 
near under the line, which made it prove such 
hot service unto him, and where, besides others, 
he lost his eldest son in the action ; and could 
they have preserved the magazine of tobacco only, 
besides other things in that town, something might 
have been had to countervail the charge of the 
voyage. Gondamar allegeth further that, the en- 
terprise of the mine failing, he propounded to the 
rest of his fleet to go and intercept some of the 
Plate-galleons, with other designs which would 
have drawn after them apparent acts of hostility, 
and so demands justice; besides other disasters 
which fell out upon the dashing of the first design. 
Captain Remish, who was the main instrument for 
discovery of the mine, pistolled himself in a des- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 13 

perate mood of discontent in his cabin, in the Con- 
vertine. 

This return of Sir Walter Raleigh from Guiana 
puts me in mind of a facetious tale I read lately 
in Italian (for I have a little of that language 
already), how Alfonso, King of Naples, sent a 
Moor, who had been his captive a long time, to 
Barbary, with a considerable sum of money to buy 
horses, and to return by such a time. Now there 
was about the king a kind of buffoon or jester who 
had a table-book or journal, wherein he was used 
to register any absurdity, or impertinence, or merry 
passage that happened upon the Court. That day 
the Moor was dispatched for Barbary, the said 
jester waiting upon the king at supper, the king 
called for his journal, and asked what he had ob- 
served that day ; thereupon, the jester produced 
his table-book, and, amongst other things, he read 
how Alfonso, King of Naples, had sent Beltram 
the Moor, who had been a long time his prisoner, 
to Morocco (his own country) with so many thou- 
sand crowns to buy horses. The king asked him 
why he inserted that. " Because," said he, " I 
think he will never come back to be a prisoner 
again, and so you have lost both man and money. 
But, if he do come, then your jest is marred." 
Quoth the king, " No, sir ; for if he return I will 
blot out your name, and put him in for a fool.'* 

The application is easy and obvious ; but the 
world wonders extremely that so great a wise man 
as Sir Walter Raleigh would return to cast him- 



14 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

self upon so inevitable a rock, as I fear he will ; 
and much more, that such choice men and so great 
a power of ships should all come home and do 
nothing. 

The letter you sent to my father I conveyed 
safely the last week to Wales. I am this week, 
by God's help, for the Netherlands, and then, I 
think, for France. If in this, my foreign employ- 
ment, I may be any way serviceable unto you, you 
know what power you have to dispose of me, for 
I honour you in a very high degree, and will live 
and die, your humble and ready servant, 

J. H. 

London, 28 of March 161 8. 



To my Brother^ after Dr Howell ^ and now Bishop 
of Bristol ; from Amsterdam 

Brother, 

1AM newly landed at Amsterdam, and it is the 
first foreign earth I ever set foot upon. I was 
pitifully sick all the voyage, for the weather was 
rough and the wind untoward, and at the mouth 
of the Texel we were surprised by a furious tem- 
pest, so that the ship was like to split upon some 
of those old stumps of trees wherewith that river is 
full ; for in ages past, as the skipper told me, there 
grew a fair forest in that channel where the Texel 
makes now her bed. Having been so rocked and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 15 

shaken at sea, when I came ashore, I began to in- 
cline to Copernicus his opinion, which has got such 
a sway lately in the world, viz., that the earth, as 
well as the rest of her fellow-elements, is in per- 
petual motion, for she seemed so to me a good 
while after I had landed. He that observes the 
site and position of this country will never here- 
after doubt the truth of that philosophical problem 
which keeps so great a noise in the schools, viz., 
that the sea is higher than the earth ; because, 
as I sailed along these coasts, I visibly found 
it true; for the ground here, which is all 'twixt 
marsh and moorish, lies not only level, but to the 
apparent sight of the eye, far lower than the sea ; 
which made the Duke of Alva say that the inhabit- 
ants of this country were the nearest neighbours to 
hell (the great abyss) of any people upon earth, 
because they dwell lowest. Most of that ground 
they tread is plucked, as it were, out of the very 
jaws of Neptune, who is afterwards pent out by 
high dykes, which are preserved with incredible 
charge, insomuch, that the chief Dyke-grave here 
is one of the greatest officers of trust in all the 
province, it being in his power to turn the whole 
country into a salt loch when he list, and so to put 
Hans to swim for his life, which makes it to be 
one of the chiefest parts of his litany. From the 
sea, the Spaniard, and the devil, the Lord deliver 
me. I need not tell you who preserves him from 
the last, but from the Spaniard his best friend is the 
sea itself, notwithstanding that he fears him as an 



1 6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

enemy another way : for the sea, stretching him- 
self here into divers arms, and meeting with some 
of those fresh rivers that descend from Germany 
to disgorge themselves into him through these 
provinces, most of their towns are thereby incom- 
passed with water, which by sluices they can con- 
tract or dilate as they list. This makes their towns 
inaccessible and out of the reach of cannon ; so 
that water may be said to be one of their best 
fences, otherwise I believe they had not been able 
to have borne up so long against the gigantic power 
of Spain. 

This city of Amsterdam, though she be a great 
staple of news, yet I can impart none unto you at 
this time, I will defer that till I come to the Hague. 

I am lodged here at one Monsieur De la Cluze, 
not far from the Exchange, to make an introduc- 
tion into the French ; because I believe I shdl 
steer my course hence next to the country where 
that language is spoken ; but I think I shall so- 
journ here about two months longer, therefore I 
pray direct your letters accordingly, or any other 
you have for me. One of the prime comforts of a 
traveller is to receive letters from his friends ; they 
beget new spirits in him, and present joyful objects 
to his fancy when his mind is clouded sometimes 
with fogs of melancholy ; thereof I pray make me 
happy as often as your conveniency will serve with 
yours. You may send or deliver them to Captain 
Bacon at the Glass House, who will see them 
safely sent. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 17 

S05 my dear brother, I pray God bless us both, 
and send us after this large distance a joyful meet- 
ing. — Your loving brother, 

J. H. 

Amsterdam, April i, 16 17. 

VI 
To Dan, Caldwell, Esq, ; from Amsterdam 

My dear Dan., 

1HAVE made your friendship so necessary 
unto me for the contentment of my life, that 
happiness itself would be but a kind of infelicity 
without it. It is as needful to me as fire and 
water, as the very air I take in and breathe out ; 
it is to me not only necessitudo but necessitas : 
therefore I pray let me enjoy it in that fair pro- 
portion that I desire to return unto you by way of 
correspondence and retaliation. Our first league 
of love, you know, was contracted among the 
muses in Oxford ; for no sooner was I matricu- 
lated to her, but I was adopted to you ; I became 
her son and your friend at one time. You know 
I followed you then to London, where our love 
received confirmation in the Temple and else- 
where. We are now far asunder, for no less than 
a sea severs us, and that no narrow one, but the 
German Ocean: Distance sometimes endears 
friendship, and absence sweeteneth it, it much 
enhanceth the value of it, and makes it more pre- 



1 8 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

cious. Let this be verified in us, let that love 
which formerly used to be nourished by personal 
communication and the lips be now fed by let- 
ters ; let the pen supply the office of the tongue; 
letters have a strong operation, they have a kind 
of art-like embraces to mingle souls, and make 
them meet though millions of paces asunder ; by 
them we may converse and know how it fares 
with each other as it were by intercourse of spirits. 
Therefore amongst your civil speculations I pray 
let your thought sometimes reflect on me (your 
absent self) and wrap those thoughts in paper, and 
so send them me over ; I promise you they shall 
be very welcome, I shall embrace and hug them 
with my best affections. 

Commend me to Tom Bowyer, and enjoin him 
the like. I pray be no niggard in distributing my 
love plentifully amongst our friends at the Inns 
of Court. Let Jack Toldervy have my kind com- 
mends with this caveat, "That the pot which goes 
often to the water comes home cracked at last ; " 
therefore I hope he will be careful how he makes 
the Fleece in Cornhill his thoroughfare too often. 
So may my dear Daniel live happy, and love his 

J. H. 

From Amsterdam, April the lo, 1619. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 19 

VII 

To my Father ; from Amsterdam 

I AM lately arrived in Holland in a good plight 
of health, and continue yet in this town of 
Amsterdam, a town I believe that there are few 
of her fellows, being from a mean fishing dorp, come 
in a short revolution of time, by a monstrous in- 
crease of commerce and navigation, to be one of 
the greatest marts of Europe. It is admirable to 
see what various sorts of buildings and new fabrics 
are now here erecting everywhere ; not in houses 
only, but in whole streets and suburbs ; so that it 
is thought she will in a short time double her 
proportion in business. 

I am lodged in a Frenchman's house, who is 
one of the deacons of our English Brownists' 
Church here; it is not far from the synagogue of 
Jews, who have free and open exercise of their 
religion here. I believe , in this street where I 
lodge there be well near as many religions as 
there be houses ; for one neighbour knows not 
nor cares not much what religion the other is of, 
so that the number of conventicles exceeds the 
number of churches here. And let this country 
call itself as long as it will the United Provinces 
one way, I am persuaded in this point there *s no 
place so disunited. 

The Dog and Rag Market is hard by, where 



20 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

every Sunday morning there is a kind of public 
mart for those commodities, notwithstanding their 
precise observance of the Sabbath. 

Upon Saturday last I happened to be in a gen- 
tleman's company, who showed me as I walked 
along in the streets a long-bearded old Jew of the 
tribe of Aaron ; when the other Jews met him 
they fell down and kissed his foot. This was that 
Rabbi with whom our countryman Broughton had 
such a dispute. 

This city, notwithstanding her huge trade, is far 
inferior to London for populousness ; and this I 
infer out of their weekly bills of mortality, which 
come not at most but to fifty or thereabout ; 
whereas in London the ordinary number is 'twixt 
two and three hundred, one week with another. 
Nor are there such wealthy men in this town as 
in London ; for by reason of the generality of 
commerce, the banks, adventures, the common 
shares and stocks which most have in the Indian 
and other companies, the wealth doth diffuse itself 
here in a strange kind of equality, not one of the 
burghers being exceeding rich, or exceeding poor. 
Insomuch, that I believe our four and twenty 
aldermen may buy a hundred of the richest men 
in Amsterdam. It is a rare thing to meet with a 
beggar here, as rare as to see a horse, they say, 
upon the streets of Venice, and this is held to be 
one of their best pieces of Government ; for be- 
sides the strictness of their laws against mendi- 
cants, they have hospitals of all sorts for young 



OF JAMES HOWELL 21 

and old, both for the relief of the one and the 
employment of the other, so that there is no 
object here to exercise any act of charity upon. 
They are here very neat, though not so magnifi- 
cent in their buildings, especially in their frontis- 
pieces and first rooms ; and for cleanliness they 
may serve for a pattern to all people. They will 
presently dress half a dozen dishes of meat with- 
out any noise or show at all ; for if one goes to 
the kitchen, there will be scarce appearance of 
anything but a few covered pots upon a turf fire, 
which is their prime fuel. After dinner they fall 
a-scouring of those pots, so that the outside will 
be as bright as the inside, and the kitchen sud- 
denly so clean as if no meat had been dressed 
there a month before. They have neither well 
nor fountain or any spring of fresh water in or 
about all this city, but their fresh water is brought 
unto them by boats. Besides, they have cisterns 
to receive the rain water which they much use, so 
that my laundress, bringing my linen to me one 
day, and I commending the whiteness of them, 
she answered: That they must needs be white 
and fair, for they were washed in aqua coelestiSy 
meaning sky water. 

'Twere cheap living here were it not for the 
monstrous excises which are imposed upon all sorts 
of commodities, both for belly and back; for the 
retailer pays the States almost the one moiety as 
much as he paid for the commodity at first, nor 
doth any murmur at it, because it goes not to any 



22 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

favourite or private purse, but to preserve them 
from the Spaniard, their common enemy, as they 
term him ; so that the saying is truly verified here, 
"Defend me and spend me." With this excise 
principally, they maintain all their armies by sea 
and land, with their garrisons at home and abroad, 
both here and in the Indies, and defray all other 
public charges besides. 

I shall hence shortly for France, and in my way 
take most of the prime towns of Holland and Zea- 
land, especially Leyden (the University), where 
1 shall sojourn some days. — So humbly craving 
a continuance of your blessing and prayers, I rest 
your dutiful son, J. H. 

May the i, 1619. 



VIII 

To Dr Tho, Prichard at Jesus College in 
Oxford; from Leyden 

IT is the royal prerogative of love not to be 
confined to that small local compass which cir- 
cumscribes the body, but to make his sallies and 
progresses abroad to find out and enjoy his desired 
object under what region soever. Nor is it the 
vast gulf of Neptune, or any distance of place, or 
difference of clime can bar him of this privilege. I 
never found the experiment hereof so sensibly nor 
felt the comfort of it so much as since I shook 



OF JAMES HOWELL 23 

hands with England. For, though you be in Ox- 
ford and I at Leyden, albeit you be upon an island 
and I now upon the continent (though the lowest 
part of Europe), yet those swift postillions, my 
thoughts, find you out daily, and bring you unto 
me. I behold you often in my chamber and in 
my bed ; you eat, you drink, you sit down, and 
walk with me, and my fantasy enjoys you often in 
my sleep when all my senses are locked up and my 
soul wanders up and down the world, sometimes 
through pleasant fields and gardens, sometimes 
through odd uncouth places, over mountains and 
broken confused buildings. As my love to you 
doth thus exercise his power, so I desire yours to 
me may not be idle, but roused up sometimes to 
find me out and summon me to attend you in 
Jesus College. 

I am now here in Leyden, the only academy 
besides Franiker of all the United Provinces. 
Here are nations of all sorts, but the Germans 
swarm more than any. To compare their univer- 
sity to yours were to cast New Inn in counterscale 
with Christ Church College, or the alms houses on 
Tower Hill to Sutton's Hospital. Here are no 
colleges at all, God-wot (but one for the Dutch), 
nor scarce the face of an university, only there are 
general schools where the sciences are read by sev- 
eral professors, but all the students are oppidanes. 
A small time and less learning will suffice to make 
one a graduate ; nor are those formalities of habits 
and other decencies here as with you, much less 



24 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

those exhibitions and support for scholars, with 
other encouragements ; insomuch, that the Oxon- 
ians and Cantabrigians bona si sua norint, were 

they sensible of their own felicity, are the happiest 
academians on earth ; yet Apollo hath a strong 
influence here ; and as Cicero said of them of 
Athens : Athenis pingue caelum ^ tenuia ingenia (the 
Athenians had a thick air and thin wits) ; so 1 may 
say of these Lagdunensians,they have a gross air, 
but thin subtle wits (some of them). Witness also 
Heinsius, Grotius, Arminius,and Baudius. Of the 
two last I was told a tale, that Arminius meeting 
Baudius one day disguised with drink (wherewith 
he would be often) he told him " Tu Baudi dede- 
coras nostram Academiam, et tu Armeni nostram 
Religionem " (Thou Baudius disgracest our Uni- 
versity ; and thou Arminius our religion). The 
heaven here hath always some cloud in his coun- 
tenance ; and from this grossness and spissitude of 
air proceeds fhe slow nature of the inhabitants, yet 
this slowness is recompensed with another benefit ; 
it makes them patient and constant, as in all other 
actions, so in their studies and speculations, though 
they use 

Crassos transire Dies, lucemque palustrem. 

I pray impart my love liberally amongst my 
friends in Oxford, and when you can make truce 
with your more serious meditations bestow a 
thought, drawn into a few lines, upon your J. H. 

Leyden, May the 30, 1619. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 25 



IX 

To Mr Richard Altham^ at his Chamber in 
Grafs Inn 

THOUGH you be now a good way out of 
my reach, yet you are not out of my remem- 
brance ; you are still within the horizon of my love. 
Now the horizon of love is large and spacious ; it 
is as boundless as that of the imagination, and where 
the imagination rangeth, the memory is still busy 
to usher in and present the desired object it fixeth 
upon. It is love that sets them both on work, and 
may be said to be the highest sphere whence they 
receive their motion. Thus you appear unto me 
often in these foreign travels, and that you may 
believe me the better, I send you these lines as my 
ambassadors (and ambassadors must not lie) to in- 
form you accordingly, and to salute you. 

I desire to know how you like Ployden ; I 
heard it often said that there is no study requires 
patience and constancy more than the common 
law, for it is a good while before one comes to any 
known perfection in it, and consequently to any 
gainful practice. This, I think, made Jack Chaun- 
dler throw away his Littleton, like him that when 
he could not catch the hare, said : A pox upon her, 
she is but dry tough meat, let her go. It is not so 
with you, for I know you are of that disposition, 
that when you mind a thing, nothing can frighten 



0.6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

you in making constant pursuit after it till you 
have obtained it; for if the mathematics with 
their crabbedness and intricacy could not deter 
you, but that you waded through the very midst 
of them and arrived to so excellent a perfection, 
I believe it is not in the power of Ployden to das- 
tardize or cow your spirits until you have over- 
come him, at leastwise have so much of him as 
will serve your turn. I know you were always a 
quick and pressing disputant in logic and philo- 
sophy, which makes me think your genius is fit 
for law (as the Baron, your excellent father was), 
for a good logician makes always a good lawyer ; 
and hereby one may give a strong conjecture of 
the aptness or inaptitude of one's capacity to that 
study and profession ; and you know as well as I 
that logicians who went under the name of soph- 
isters, were the first lawyers that ever were. 

I shall be upon uncertain removes hence, until 
I come to Rouen in France, and there I mean to 
cast anchor a good while. I shall expect your let- 
ters there with impatience. I pray present my ser- 
vice to Sir James Altham and to my good lady, 
your mother, with the rest to whom it is due in 
Bishopsgate Street and elsewhere. — So I am, 
yours in the best degree of friendship, 

J.H. 

Hague, 30 of May 1619. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 27 

X 

To Sir yames Crofts; from the Hague 

THE same observance that a father may chal- 
lenge of his child, the like you may claim of 
me in regard of the extraordinary care you have 
been pleased to have always, since I had the hap- 
piness to know you, of the course of my fortunes. 
I am now newly come to the Hague, the Court 
of the six (and almost seven) confederated pro- 
vinces. The Council of State with the Prince of 
Orange makes his firm residence here, unless he 
be upon a march, and in motion for some design 
abroad. This prince (Maurice) was cast in a 
mould suitable to the temper of this people. He 
is slow and full of wariment, and not without a 
mixture of fear ; I do not mean a pusillanimous 
but politic fear. He is the most constant in the 
quotidian course and carriage of his life of any 
that I have ever heard or read of; for whosoever 
knows the customs of the Prince of Orange may 
tell what he is doing here every hour of the day, 
though he be in Constantinople. In the morn- 
ing he awaketh about six in summer and seven in 
winter. The first thing he doth, he sends one of 
his grooms or pages to see how the wind sits, and 
he wears or leaves off his waistcoat accordingly, 
then he is about an hour dressing himself, and 
about a quarter of an hour in his closet, then comes 



28 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

in the secretary, and if he hath any private or 
pubHc letters to write, or any other dispatches to 
make, he doth it before he stirs from his cham- 
ber ; then comes he abroad, and goes to his sta- 
bles, if it be no sermon-day, to see some of 
his gentlemen or pages (of whose breeding he is 
very careful) ride the great horse. He is very 
accessible to any that hath business with him, and 
showeth a winning kind of familiarity, for he will 
shake hands with the meanest boor of the coun- 
try, and he seldom hears any commander or gen- 
tleman with his hat on. He dines punctually 
about twelve, and his table is free for all comers, 
but none under the degree of a captain useth to 
sit down at it ; after dinner he stays in the room a 
good while, and then anyone may accost him, and 
tell his tale ; then he retires to his chamber, where 
he answers all petitions that were delivered him in 
the morning, and towards the evening, if he goes 
not to council, which is seldom, he goes either to 
make some visits, or to take the air abroad, and ac- 
cording to this constant method he passeth his life. 
There are great stirs like to arise betwixt the 
Bohemians and the elected king, the emperor, and 
they are come already to that height, that they 
consult of deposing him, and to choose some Pro- 
testant prince to be their king, some talk of the 
Duke of Saxony, others of the Palsgrave. I be- 
lieve the States here would rather be for the latter, 
in regard of conformity of religion, the other being 
a Lutheran. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 29 

1 could not find in Amsterdam a large Ortelius 
in French to send you, but from Antwerp I will 
not fail to serve you. 

So wishing you all happiness and health, and 
that the sun may make many progresses more 
through the Zodiac before those comely gray hairs 
of yours go to the grave, I rest your very humble 
servant, J. H. 

June the 3, 1619. 

XI 

T<? Captain Francis Bacon, at the Glass House 
in Broad Street 

MY last to you was from Amsterdam, since 
which time I have traversed the prime 
parts of the United Provinces, and I am now in 
Zealand, being newly come to this town of Mid- 
dleborough, which is much crestfallen since the 
staple of English cloth was removed hence, as is 
Flishing also, her next neighbour, since the de- 
parture of the English garrison. A good intelli- 
gent gentleman told me the manner how Flish- 
ing and the Brill, our two cautionary towns here, 
were redeemed, which was thus : The nine hun- 
dred and odd soldiers at Flishing and the Ram- 
makins hard by, being many weeks without their 
pay, they borrowed divers sums of money of the 
states of this town, who finding no hopes of sup- 
ply from England, advice was sent to the States- 



30 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

General at the Hague, they consulting with Sir 
Ralph Winwood, our ambassador (who was a 
favourable instrument unto them in this business, 
as also in the match with the Palsgrave) sent in- 
structions to the Lord Caroon, to acquaint the 
Earl of Suffolk, then Lord Treasurer, herewith ; 
and in case they could find no satisfaction there, 
to make his address to the king himself, which 
Caroon did. His Majesty being much incensed 
that his subjects and soldiers should starve for 
want of their pay in a foreign country, sent for 
the Lord Treasurer, who, drawing His Majesty 
aside, and telling how empty his exchequer was. 
His Majesty told the ambassador that if his mas- 
ters, the States, would pay the money they owed 
him upon those towns, he would deliver them 
up ; the ambassador returning the next day to 
know whether His Majesty persisted in the same 
resolution, in regard that at his former audience, 
he perceived him to be a little transported. His 
Majesty answered. That he knew the states of 
Holland to be his good friends and confederates, 
both in point of religion and policy ; therefore 
he apprehended not the least fear of any differ- 
ence that should fall out between them, in con- 
templation whereof, if they desired to have their 
towns again, he would willingly surrender them. 
Hereupon the States made up the sum presently, 
which came in convenient time, for it served to 
defray the expenseful progress he made to Scot- 
land the summer following. When that money 



OF JAMES HOWELL 31 

was lent by Queen Elizabeth, it was articled that 
interest should be paid upon interest ; and be- 
sides, that for every gentleman who should lose 
his life in the States' service they should make 
good five pounds to the Crown of England. All 
this His Majesty remitted, and only took the 
principal ; and this was done in requital of that 
princely entertainment, and great presents which 
my Lady Elizabeth had received in divers of their 
towns as she passed to Heidelberg. 

The bearer hereof is Signor Antonio Miotti, 
who was master of a crystal glass furnace here a 
long time, and as I have it by good intelligence, he 
is one of the ablest and most knowing men for the 
guidance of a glass-work in Christendom. There- 
fore according to my instructions I send him over, 
and hope to have done Sir Robert good service 
thereby. So with my kind respects unto you, and 
my most humble service, where you know it is 
due, I rest, your affectionate servant, 

J.H. 

June the 6, 16 19. 

XII 

To Sir James Crofts; Antwerp 

I PRESUME that my last to you from the 
Hague came safe to hand. I am now come to 
a more cheerful country, and amongst a people 
somewhat more vigorous and mettled, being not 



32 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

so heavy as the Hollander, or homely as they of 
Zealand. This goodly ancient city methinks looks 
like a disconsolate widow, or rather some superan- 
nuated virgin, that hath lost her lover, being almost 
quite bereft of that flourishing commerce, where- 
with before the falling off the rest of the Provinces 
from Spain she abounded, to the envy of all other 
cities and marts of Europe. There are few places 
this side the Alps, better built, and so well streeted 
as this, and none at all so well girt with bastions 
and ramparts, which in some places are so spacious 
that they usually take the air in coaches upon the 
very walls, which are beautified with divers rows of 
trees and pleasant walks. The citadel here, though 
it be an addition to the stateliness and strength of 
the town, yet it serves as a shrewd curb unto her, 
which makes her champ upon the bit, and foam 
sometimes with anger, but she cannot help it. The 
tumults in Bohemia now grow hotter and hotter ; 
they write how the great council at Prague fell to 
such a hurliburly that some of those senators who 
adhered to the Emperor were thrown out at the 
windows, where some were maimed, some broke 
their necks. I am shortly to bid a farewell to the 
Netherland, and to bend my course for France, 
where I shall be most ready to entertain any com- 
mands of yours. So may all health and happi- 
ness attend you, according to the wishes of your 
obliged servant, 

J. H. 
July 5, 1619. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 33 

XIII 

To Dr Thomas Prichardy at Oxford; from Rouen 

1HAVE now taken firm footing in France, and 
though France be one of the chiefest cHmates 
of compliment, yet I can use none towards you, 
but tell you in plain downright language that in 
the list of those friends I left behind me in Eng- 
land, you are one of the prime rank, one whose 
name I have marked with the whitest stone. If 
you have gained such a place amongst the choicest 
friends of mine, I hope you will put me some- 
where amongst yours, though I but fetch up the 
rear, being contented to be the infima species, the 
lowest in the predicament of your friends. 

I shall sojourn a good while in this city of 
Rouen, therefore I pray make me happy with the 
comfort of your letters, which I shall expect with 
a longing impatience. I pray send me ample ad- 
vertisement of your welfare, and of the rest of 
our friends, as well upon the banks of Isis as 
amongst the British mountains. I am but a fresh 
man yet in France, therefore I can send you no 
news, but that all is here quiet, and it is no ordi- 
nary news that the French should be quiet. But 
some think this calm will not last long, for the 
Queen Mother (late Regent) is discontented being 
restrained from coming to the Court, or to the 
city of Paris, and the tragical death of her favour- 



34 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

ite (and foster-brother), the late Marquis of Ancre, 
lieth yet in her stomach undigested. She hath the 
Duke of Espernon, and divers other potent 
princes, that would be strongly at; her devotion 
(as it is thought), if she would stir. I pray pre- 
sent my service to Sir Eubule Thelwall, and send 
me word with what pace Jesus College new walls 
go up. I will borrow my conclusion to you at 
this time of my countryman Owen — 

Uno non possum quantum te diligo versu 
Dicere, si satis est distichon, ecce duos. 

I cannot in one verse my love declare. 

If two will serve the turn, lo! here they are. 

Whereunto I will add this surname Anagram. — 
Yours whole, J. Howel. 

Aug. 6, 1 6 19. 



XIV 
T^o Dan. Caldwell, Esq,; from Rouen 

My dear Dan., 

WHEN I came first to this town, amongst 
other objects of contentment which I 
found here, whereof there are variety, a letter of 
yours was brought me, and *t was a she-letter, for 
two more were enwombed in her body; she had 
an easy and quick deliverance of that twin ; but 
besides them, she was big and pregnant of divers 



OF JAMES HOWELL 35 

sweet pledges, and lively evidences of your own 
love towards me, whereof I am as fond as any 
mother can be of her child. I shall endeavour to 
cherish and foster this dear love of yours with all 
the tenderness that can be, and warm it at the fuel 
of my best affections to make it grow every day 
stronger and stronger, until it comes to the state 
of perfection, because I know it is a true and real, 
it is no spurious or adulterated love. If I intend 
to be so indulgent and careful of yours I hope you 
will not suifer mine to starve with you ; my love 
to you needs not much tending, for it is a lusty 
strong love, and will not easily miscarry. 

I pray, when you write next, to send me a dozen 
pair of the best white kidskin gloves the Royal 
Exchange can afford ; as also two pair of the pur- 
est white worsted stockings you can get of women 
size, together with half a dozen pairs of knives. 
I pray, send your man with them to Vacandary, 
the French post upon Tower Hill, who will bring 
them me safely. When I go to Paris I shall send 
you some curiosities, equivalent to these. I have 
here enclosed returned an answer to those two 
that came in yours ; I pray, see them safely deliv- 
ered. My kind respects to your brother sergeant 
at Court, to all at Battersea, or anywhere else where 
you think my commendations may be well placed. 

No more at this time, but that I recommend you 
to the never-failing providence of God, desiring 
you to go on in nourishing still between us that 
love which, for my part — 



36 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

No traverses of chance, of time, or fate. 

Shall ere extinguish till our lives* last date. 

But as the vine her lovely elm doth wire. 

Grasp both our hearts, and flame with fresh desire. 

Yours, J. H. 

Rouen, ^ug. 13, 1619. 

XV 
To my Father ; from Rouen 

YOURS of the third of August came to safe 
hand in an enclosed from my brother; you 
may make easy conjecture how welcome it was unto 
me, and to what a height of comfort it raised my 
spirits, in regard it was the first I received from you 
since I crossed the seas ; I humbly thank you for 
the blessing you sent along with it. 

I am now upon the fair continent of France, one 
of nature's choicest masterpieces, one of Ceres* 
chiefest barns for corn, one of Bacchus* prime wine 
cellars and of Neptune's best salt pits; a complete 
self-sufficient country, where there is rather a super- 
fluity than defect of anything, either for necessity 
or pleasure ; did the policy of the country corre- 
spond with the bounty of nature in the equal dis- 
tribution of the wealth amongst the inhabitants, for 
I think there is not upon the earth a richer coun- 
try and poorer people. *Tis true, England hath a 
good repute abroad for her fertility, yet, be our har- 
vest never so kindly and our crops never so plenti- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 37 

ful, we have every year commonly some grain from 
thence or from Danzic and other places imported 
by the merchant ; besides, there be many more 
heaths, commons, bleak-barren hills, and waste 
grounds in England by many degrees than I find 
here ; and I am sorry our country of Wales should 
give more instances hereof than any other part. 

This province of Normandy, once an appendix 
of the Crown of England, though it want wine, yet 
it yields the king as much demesnes as any one of 
the rest. The lower Norman hath cider for his 
common drink ; and I visibly observed that they 
are more plump and replete in their bodies, and of 
a clearer complexion than those that drink alto- 
gether wine. In this great city of Rouen there be 
many monuments of the English nation yet extant. 
On the outside of the highest steeple of the great 
church there is the word of God engraven in huge 
golden characters, every one almost as long as my- 
self to make them the more visible. In this steeple 
hangs also the greatest bell of Christendom, called 
d'Amboise^ for it weighs near upon forty thousand 
pounds weight. There is also here Saint Ouen, the 
greatest sanctuary in the city, founded by one of 
our compatriots, as the name imports. This pro- 
vince is also subject to wardships, and no other part 
of France besides ; but whether the Conqueror 
transported that law to England from hence, or 
whether he sent it over from England hither, I 
cannot resolve you. There is a marvellous quick 
trade beaten in this town, because of the great 



38 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

navigable river Sequena (the Seine) that runs hence 
to Paris, whereon there stands a strange bridge 
that ebbs and flows, that rises and falls with the 
river, it being made of boats, whereon coach and 
carts may pass over as well as men ; besides, this 
is the nearest mercantile city that stands *twixt 
Paris and the sea. 

My last unto you was from the Low Countries, 
where I was in motion to and fro above four 
months ; but I fear it miscarried in regard you 
make no mention of it in yours. 

I begin more and more to have a sense of the 
sweetness and advantage of foreign travel. I pray, 
when you come to London to find a time to visit 
Sir Robert, and acknowledge his great favours 
to me, and desire a continuance thereof, accord- 
ing as I shall endeavourt o deserve them. — So, 
with my due and daily prayers for your health, 
and a speedy successful issue of all your law busi- 
ness, I humbly crave your blessing, and rest, 
your dutiful son, J. H. 

September the "], 1619. 

XVI 

To Captain Francis Bacon; from Paris 

I RECEIVED two of yours in Rouen with 
the bills of exchange there inclosed, and accord- 
ing to your directions I sent you those things 
which you wrote for. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 39 

I am now newly come to Paris, this huge mag- 
azine of men, the epitome of this large populous 
kingdom and rendezvous of all foreigners. The 
structures here are indifferently fair, though the 
streets generally foul, all the four seasons of the 
year, which I impute first, to the position of the 
city being built upon an isle (the Isle of France, 
made so by the branching and serpentine course 
of the river of Seine), and having some of her sub- 
urbs seated high, the filth runs down the channel 
and settles in many places within the body of the 
city, which lieth upon a flat ; as also for a world 
of coaches, carts, and horses of all sorts that go to 
and fro perpetually, so that sometimes one shall 
meet with a stop half a mile long of those coaches, 
carts, and horses that can move neither forward 
nor backward by reason of some sudden encounter 
of others coming a cross-way, so that often times 
it will be an hour or two before they can disen- 
tangle. In such a stop the great Henry was so 
fatally slain by Ravillac. Hence comes it to pass 
that this town (for Paris is a town, a city, and a 
University) is always dirty, and it is such a dirt, 
that by perpetual motion is beaten into such a 
thick black unctuous oil that where it sticks no art 
can wash it off of some colours, insomuch that it 
may be no improper comparison to say, that an 
ill name is like the crot (the dirt) of Paris, which is 
indelible ; besides the stain this dirt leaves, it gives 
also so strong a scent that it may be smelt many 
miles off if the wind be in one's face as he comes 



40 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

from the fresh air of the country. This may be one 
cause why the plague is always in some corner or 
other of this vast city, which may be called, as 
once Scythia was. Vagina populorum, or (as man- 
kind was called by a great philosopher) a great 
molehill of ants. Yet I believe this city is not so 
populous as she seems to be, for her form being 
round (as the whole kingdom is) the passengers 
wheel about and meet oftener than they use to do 
in the long continued streets of London, which 
makes London appear less populous than she is 
indeed, so that London for length (though not 
for latitude), including Westminster, exceeds 
Paris, and hath in Michaelmas term more souls 
moving within her in all places. It is under one 
hundred years that Paris is become so sumptuous 
and strong in buildings ; for her houses were mean 
until a mine of white stone was discovered hard 
by, which runs in a continued vein of earth and 
is digged out with ease, being soft, and is between 
a white clay and chalk at first, but being pullied 
up, with the open air it receives a crusty kind of 
hardness and so becomes perfect freestone ; and 
before it is sent up from the pit they can reduce 
it to any form. Of this stone the Louvre, the 
king's palace, is built, which is a vast fabric, for 
the gallery wants not much of an Italian mile in 
length, and will easily lodge 3000 men, which 
some told me was the end for which the last king 
made it so big, that lying at the fag-end of this 
great mutinous city, if she perchance should rise, 



OF JAMES HOWELL 41 

the king might pour out of the Louvre so many 
thousand men unawares into the heart of her. 

I am lodged here hard by the Bastile, because it 
is furthest off from those places where the English 
resort, for I would go on to get a little language as 
soon as I could. In my next I shall impart unto 
you what State news France affords. — In the in- 
terim, and always, I am, your humble servant, 

J.H. 

Paris, the 30 of March 1620. 



XVII 

To Richard Altham, Esquire ; from Paris 

LOVE is the marrow of friendship and letters 
are the elixir of love. They are the best fuel 
of affection, and cast a sweeter odour than any 
frankincense can do. Such an odour, such an 
aromatic perfume your late letter brought with it, 
proceeding from the fragrancy of those dainty 
flowers of eloquence, which I found blossoming as 
it were in every line ; I mean those sweet expres- 
sions of love and wit, which in every period were 
intermingled with so much art that they seemed to 
contend for mastery which was the strongest. I 
must confess, that you put me to hard shifts to 
correspond with you in such exquisite strains and 
raptures of love, which were so lively that I must 
needs judge them to proceed from the motions, 
from the diastole and systole of a heart truly 



42 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

affected. Certainly your heart did dictate every 
syllable you wrote, and guided your hand all 
along. Sir, give me leave to tell you, that not a 
dram, nor a dose, nor a scruple of this precious 
love of yours is lost, but is safely treasured up in 
my breast, and answered in like proportion to the 
full ; mine to you is as cordial, it is passionate and 
perfect, as love can be. 

I thank you for the desire you have to know 
how it fares with me abroad. I thank God I am 
perfectly well, and well contented with this wan- 
dering course of life awhile. I never enjoyed my 
health better, but I was like to endanger it two 
nights ago ; for being in some jovial company 
abroad, and coming late to our lodging, we were 
suddenly surprised by a crew o{ Jilous or night 
rogues, who drew upon us, and as we had ex- 
changed some blows, it pleased God the Cheva- 
lieur de Guet, an officer who goes up and down 
the streets all night on horseback to prevent dis- 
orders, passed by, and so rescued us ; but Jack 
White was hurt, and I had two thrusts in my 
cloak. There is never a night passeth but some 
robbing or murder is committed in this town, so 
that it is not safe to go late anywhere, specially 
about the Pont-Neuf, the New Bridge, though 
Henry the Great himself lies sentinel there in 
arms, upon a huge Florentine horse, and sits 
bare to every one that passeth, an improper pos- 
ture methinks to a king on horseback. Not long 
since, one of the secretaries of State (whereof 



OF JAMES HOWELL 43 

there are always four) having been invited to 
the suburbs of Saint Germains to supper, left or- 
der with one of his lackeys to bring him his horse 
about nine. It so happened, that a mischance be- 
fell the horse, which lamed him as he went a water- 
ing to the Seine, insomuch that the secretary was 
put to beat the hoof himself, and foot it home ; 
but as he was passing the Pont-Neuf with his 
lackey carrying a torch before him, he might over- 
hear a noise of clashing of swords and fighting, 
and looking under the torch and perceiving they 
were but two, he bade his lackey go on ; they had 
not made many paces, but two armed men, with 
their pistols cocked and swords drawn, made puff- 
ing towards them, whereof one had a paper in his 
hand, which he said he had casually took up in 
the streets, and the difference between them was 
about that paper; therefore they desired the sec- 
retary to read it, with a great deal of compliment. 
The secretary took out his spectacles and fell a 
reading of the said paper, whereof the substance 
was : " That it should be known to all men, that 
whosoever did pass over that bridge after nine 
o'clock at night in winter, and ten in summer, 
was to leave his cloak behind him, and in case of 
no cloak his hat." The secretary starting at this, 
one of the comrades told him that he thought 
that paper concerned him ; so they unmantled 
him of a new plush cloak, and my secretary was 
content to go home quietly, and en cuerpo. This 
makes me think often of the excellent nocturnal 



44 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

government of our city of London, where one 
may pass and repass securely all hours of the 
night, if he give good words to the watch. 
There is a gentle calm of peace now throughout 
all France, and the king intends to make a pro- 
gress to all the frontier towns of the kingdom, to 
see how they are fortified. The favourite, Luines, 
strengtheneth himself more and more in his min- 
ionship, but he is much murmured at in regard 
the access of suitors to him is so difficult, which 
made a lord of this land say, " That three of the 
hardest things in the world were, to quadrat a 
circle, to find out the philosopher's stone, and to 
speak with the Duke of Luines." 

I have sent you by Vacandary the post, the 
French bever and tweeses you wrote for. Bever 
hats are grown dearer of late, because the Jesuits 
have got the monopoly of them from the king. 

Farewell dear child of virtue and minion of the 
muses, and continue to love your, J. H. 

Paris, I of May 1620. 

XVIII 

T(? Sir y antes Crofts ; from Paris 

I AM to set forward this week for Spain, and if 
I can find no commodity of embarkation at 
Saint Malos, I must be forced to journey it all the 
way by land, and clamber up the huge Pyreney 
hills ; but I could not bid Paris adieu till I had 



OF JAMES HOWELL 45 

conveyed my true and constant respects to you by 
this letter. I was yesterday to wait upon Sir Her- 
bert Crofts at Saint Germains, where I met with a 
French gentleman, who, amongst other curiosities, 
which he pleased to show me up and down Paris, 
brought me to that place where the late king was 
slain, and to that where the Marquis of Ancre was 
shot, and so made me a punctual relation of all 
the circumstances of those two acts, which in re- 
gard they were rare, and I believe two of the 
notablest accidents that ever happened in France, 
I thought it worth the labour to make you par- 
taker of some part of his discourse. 

France, as all Christendom besides (for there 
was then a truce betwixt Spain and the Hollander) 
was in a profound peace, and had continued so 
twenty years together, when Henry the Fourth 
fell upon some great martial design, the bottom 
whereof is not known to this day ; and being rich 
(for he had heaped up in the Bastile a mount of 
gold that was as high as a lance) he levied a huge 
army of 40,000 men, whence came the song, " The 
King of France with forty thousand men; '* and 
upon a sudden he put this army in perfect equi- 
page, and some say he invited our Prince Henry to 
come unto him to be a sharer in his exploits. But 
going one afternoon to the Bastile to see his trea- 
sure and ammunition, his coach stopped suddenly, 
by reason of some colliers and other carts that 
were in that narrow street ; whereupon one Ravil- 
lac, a lay-Jesuit (who had a whole twelve-month 



46 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

watched an opportunity to do the act), put his 
foot boldly upon one of the wheels of the coach, 
and with a long knife stretched himself over their 
shoulders who were in the boot of the coach, and 
reached the king at the end, and stabbed him right 
in the left side to the heart, and pulling out the 
fatal steel, he doubled his thrust ; the king with a 
ruthful voice cried out, " Je suis blesse " (I am 
hurt), and suddenly the blood issued at his mouth. 
The regicide villain was apprehended, and com- 
mand given that no violence should be offered 
him, that he might be reserved for the law, and 
some exquisite torture. The queen grew half-dis- 
tracted hereupon, who had been crowned Queen of 
France the day before in great triumph ; but a few 
days after she had something to countervail, if not 
to overmatch her sorrow ; for according to Saint 
Lewis law, she was made Queen Regent of France 
during the king's minority, who was then but 
about ten years of age. Many consultations were 
held how to punish Ravillac, and there were some 
Italian physicians that undertook to prescribe a 
torment, that should last a constant torment for 
three days, but he escaped only with this : his 
body was pulled between four horses, that one 
might hear his bones crack, and after the disloca- 
tion they were set again, and so he was carried in 
a cart standing half naked, with a torch in that 
hand which had committed the murder ; and in 
the place where the act was done, it was cut off, 
and a gauntlet of hot oil was clapped upon the 



OF JAMES HOWELL 47 

stump, to staunch the blood, whereat he gave a 
doleful shriek ; then was he brought upon a stage, 
where a new pair of boots was provided for him, 
half-filled with boiling oil ; then his body was pin- 
cered, and hot oil poured into the holes. In all 
the extremity of this torture, he scarce showed any 
sense of pain but when the gauntlet was clapped 
upon his arms to staunch the flux, at that time of 
reeking blood, he gave a shriek only. He bore up 
against all these torments about three hours before 
he died. All the confession that could be drawn 
from him was " that he thought to have done God 
good service, to take away that king, which would 
have embroiled all Christendom in an endless 
war." 

A fatal thing it was that France should have 
three of her kings come to such violent deaths in 
so short a revolution of time. Henry the Second, 
running a tilt with Monsieur Montgomery, was 
killed by a splinter of a lance that pierced his 
eye ; Henry the Third, not long after, was killed 
by a young friar, who, in lieu of a letter which 
he pretended to have for him, pulled out of his 
long sleeve a knife, and thrust him into the bot- 
tom of the belly as he was coming from his close- 
stool, and so despatched him ; but that regicide 
was hacked to pieces in the place by the nobles. 
The same destiny attended this king by Ravillac, 
which is become now a common name of re- 
proach and infamy in France. 

Never was king so much lamented as this. 



48 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

There are a world not only of his pictures, but 
statues, up and down France, and there is scarce 
a market-town but hath him erected in the mar- 
ket-place, or over some gate, not upon sign-posts, 
as our Henry the Eighth, and by a public Act 
of Parliament, which was confirmed in the con- 
sistory at Rome, he was entitled Henry the Great, 
and so placed in the Temple of Immortality. A 
notable prince he was, and of an admirable tem- 
per of body and mind ; he had a graceful facetious 
way to gain both love and awe ; he would be 
never transported beyond himself with choler, 
but he would pass by anything with some repartee, 
some witty strain, wherein he was excellent. I will 
instance in a few which were told me from a good 
hand. One day he was charged by the Duke of 
Bouillon to have changed his religion, he an- 
swered, "No, cousin, I have changed no religion, 
but an opinion ; " and the Cardinal of Perron 
being by, he enjoined him to write a treatise for 
his vindication. The cardinal was long about the 
work, and when the king asked from time to time 
where his book was, he would still answer him 
" that he expected some manuscripts from Rome 
before he could finish it." It happened that one 
day the king took the cardinal along with him to 
look on his workmen and new buildings at the 
Louvre ; and passing by one corner which had 
been a long time begun, but left unfinished, the 
king asked the chief mason why that corner was 
not all this while perfected. " Sir, it is because I 



OF JAMES HOWELL 49 

want some choice stones." " No, no," said the 
king, looking upon the cardinal, " it is because 
thou wantest manuscripts from Rome." Another 
time, the old Duke of Main, who was used to 
play the droll with him, coming softly into his 
bed-chamber, and thrusting in his bald head and 
long neck in a posture to make the king merry, 
it happened the king was coming from doing his 
ease, and spying him, he took the round cover of 
the close-stool and clapped it on his bald-sconce, 
saying, " Ah, cousin, you thought once to have 
taken the crown off of my head, and wear it on 
your own ; but this off my tail shall now serve 
your turn." Another time, when at the siege of 
Amiens, he having sent for the Count of Soissons 
(who had 100,000 franks a year pension from the 
Crown) to assist him in those wars, and that the 
count excused himself by reason of his years and 
poverty, having exhausted himself in the former 
wars, and all that he could do now was to pray for 
His Majesty, which he would do heartily. This 
answer being brought to the king, he replied : 
" Will my cousin, the Count of Soissons, do no- 
thing else but pray for me ; tell him that prayer 
without fasting is not available ; therefore I will 
make my cousin fast also from his pension of 
100,000 per annum." 

He was once troubled with a fit of the gout, 
and the Spanish ambassador coming then to visit 
him, and saying he was sorry to see His Majesty 
so lame, he answered : " As lame as I am, if there 



50 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

were occasion, your master the King of Spain 
should no sooner have his foot in the stirrup, but 
he should find me on horseback." 

By these few you may guess at the genius of 
this spiritful prince. I could make many more 
instances, but then I should exceed the bounds 
of a letter. When I am in Spain you shall hear 
further from me, and if you can think on any- 
thing wherein I may serve you, believe it, sir, 
that any employment from you shall be welcome 
to your much obliged servant, J. H. 

Paris, 12 of May 1620. 



XIX 

To my Brother^ Dr, Howell 

Brother, 
EING to-morrow to part with Paris and begin 



B 



my journey for Spain, I thought it not amiss 
to send you this, in regard I know not when I 
shall have opportunity to write unto you again. 

This kingdom, since the young king hath taken 
the sceptre into his own hands, doth flourish very 
much with quietness and commerce; nor is there 
any motion or the least tintamar of trouble in any 
part of the country, which is rare in France. 'Tis 
true, the queen mother is discontented since she 
left her regency, being confined, and I know not 
what it may come unto in time, for she hath a 



OF JAMES HOWELL 51 

strong party, and the murdering of her Marquis of 
Ancre will yet bleed as some fear. 

I was lately in society of a gentleman, who was a 
spectator of that tragedy, and he pleased to relate 
unto me the particulars of it, which was thus : 
When Henry the Fourth was slain, the queen dow- 
ager took the reins of the government into her 
hands during the young king's minority; and 
amongst others whom she advanced, Signior Con- 
chino, a Florentine, and her foster-brother was one. 
Her countenance came to shine so strongly upon 
him that he became her only confidant and favourite, 
insomuch that she made him Marquis of Ancre, 
one of the twelve Marshals of France, Governor of 
Normandy, and conferred divers other honours 
and offices of trust upon him, and who but he. The 
princes of France could not endure this domineer- 
ing of a stranger, therefore they leagued together 
to suppress him by arms. The queen regent hav- 
ing intelligence thereof, surprised the Prince of 
Conde and clapped him up in the Bastile. The 
Duke of Main fled hereupon to Peronne in 
Py cardie, and other great men put themselves in an 
armed posture to stand upon their guard. The 
young king being told that the Marquis of Ancre 
was the ground of this discontentment, commanded 
Monsieur de Vitry, Captain of his Guard, to arrest 
him, and in case of resistance to kill him. This 
business was carried very closely till the next morn- 
ing, that the said marquis was coming to the Louvre 
with a ruffling train of gallants after him, and pass- 



52 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

ing over the drawbridge at the court gate, Vitry 
stood there with the king's guard about him, and 
as the marquis entered he told him that he had a 
commission from the king to apprehend him; there- 
fore, he demanded his sword. The marquis here- 
upon put his hand upon his sword, some thought 
to yield it up, others to make opposition ; in the 
meantime Vitry discharged a pistol at him, and so 
despatched him. The king, being above in his 
gallery, asked what noise that was below ? One 
smilingly answered, "Nothing, sir; but that the 
Marshal of Ancre is slain." "Who slew him?" 
"The Captain of your guard." "Why?" "Because 
he would have drawn his sword at your Majesty's 
Royal Commission." Then the king replied, "Vitry 
hath done well, and I will maintain the act." Pres- 
ently the queen mother had all her guard taken from 
her, except six men and sixteen women, and so she 
was banished Paris and commanded to retire 
to Blois. Ancre's body was buried that night in 
a church hard by the court, but the next morn- 
ing, the lackeys and pages (who are more unhappy 
here than the apprentices in London) broke up his 
grave, tore his coffin to pieces, ripped the winding- 
sheet, and tied his body to an ass's tail, and so 
dragged him up and down the gutters of Paris, 
which are none of the sweetest; they then flicked 
off his ears and nailed them upon the gates of the 
city, they cut oflFhis genitories (and they say he was 
hung like an ass), and sent them for a present to the 
Duke of Main, the rest of his body they carried to 



OF JAMES HOWELL 53 

the new bridge, and hung him his heels upwards, and 
head downwards, upon a new gibbet that had been 
set up a little before to punish them who should 
speak ill of the present Government, and it was 
his chance to have the maidenhead of it himself. 
His wife was hereupon apprehended, imprisoned, 
and beheaded for a witch some few days after upon 
a surmise that she had enchanted the queen to 
dote so upon her husband; and they say the young 
king's picture was found in her closet in virgin wax, 
with one leg melted away. A little after a process 
was formed against the marquis (her husband) and 
so he was condemned after death. This was a 
right act of a French popular fury, which Hke an 
angry torrent is irresistible, nor can any banks, 
boundaries, or dykes stop the impetuous rage of it. 
How the young king will prosper after so high and 
unexampled an act of violence, by beginning his 
reign, and embruing the walls of his own court 
with blood in that manner, there are diverse cen- 
sures. 

When I am settled in Spain you shall hear from 
me. In the interim I pray let your prayers accom- 
pany me in this long journey, and when you write 
to Wales I pray acquaint our friends with my wel- 
fare. So I pray God bless us both, and send us a 
happy interview. — Your loving brother, 

J. H. 

Paris, 8 September 1620. 



54 FAMILIAR LETTERS 



XX 

To my Cousin, W. Vaughariy Esq,; from 
Saint Malo 

Cousin, 

1AM now in French Brittany. I went back 
from Paris to Rouen, and so through all Low 
Normandy to a little port called Granville, where 
I embarked for this town of Saint Malo, but I did 
purge so violently at sea that it put me into a 
burning fever for some few days, whereof (I thank 
God) I am newly recovered, and finding no 
opportunity of shipping here I must be forced to 
turn my intended sea voyage to a long land 
journey. 

Since I came to this province I was curious to 
converse with some of the lower Bretons who speak 
no other language but our Welsh, for their radical 
words are no other, but 'tis no wonder, for they 
were a colony of Welsh at first, as the name of this 
province doth imply, as also the Latin name 
Armorica, which though it pass for Latin, yet it is 
but pure Welsh, and signifies a country bordering 
upon the sea, as that arch heretic was called Pela- 
gius,a Pelago, his name being Morgan. I was a little 
curious to peruse the annals of this province, and 
during the time that it was a kingdom there were 
four kings of the name Hoell, whereof one was 
called Hoell the Great. 



W' 



OF JAMES HOWELL 55 

This town of Saint Malo hath one rarity in it, 
for there is here a perpetual garrison of English, 
but they are of English dogs, which are let out in 
the night to guard the ships, and eat the carrion 
up and down the streets, and so they are shut up 
again in the morning. 

It will be now a good while before I shall have 
convenience to send to you or receive from you. 
Howsoever, let me retain still some little room in 
your memory, and some time in your meditations, 
while I carry you about me perpetually, not only 
in my head, but in heart, and make you travel all 
along with me thus from town to country, from 
hill to dale, from sea to land, up and down the 
world. And you must be contented to be subject 
to these uncertain removes and perambulations, 
until it shall please God to fix me again in Eng- 
land. Nor need you, while you are thus my con- 
comitant through new places every day, to fear 
any ill-usage as long as I fare well. — Yours 

'^(pTJCreL KOLL KT7](T€Lf J. H. 

St. Malo, 25 of September 1620. 

XXI 

T^o Sir yohn North, Knight ; from Roc he He 

I AM newly come to Rochelle, nor am I sorry 
that I went somewhat out of my way to see 
this town, not (to tell you true) out of any extra- 
ordinary love I bear to the people ; for I do not 



56 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

find them so gentle and debonair to strangers, nor 
so hospitable as the rest of France, but I excuse 
them for it, in regard it is commonly so with all 
republic and Hans towns, whereof this smells very 
rank; nor indeed hath any Englishman much 
cause to love this town, in regard in ages past she 
played the most treacherous part with England of 
any other place in France. For the story tells us 
that this town, having by a perfidious stratagem 
(by forging a counterfeit commission from Eng- 
land) induced the English governor to make a 
general muster of all his forces out of the town, 
this being one day done, they shut their gates 
against him, and made him go shake his ears, and 
to shift for his lodging, and so rendered themselves 
to the French king, who sent them a blank to 
write their own conditions. I think they have the 
strongest ramparts by sea of any place of Christen- 
dom, nor have I seen the like in any town of 
Holland, whose safety depends upon water. I am 
bound to-morrow for Bordeaux, then through 
Gascony to Toulouse, so through Languidoc over 
the hills to Spain. I go in the best season of the 
year, for I make an autumnal journey of it. I 
pray let your prayers accompany me all along. 
They are the best officers of love and fruits of 
friendship. So God prosper you at home, as me 
abroad, and send us in good time a joyful conjunc- 
ture. — ■ Yours, J. H. 
Rochelle, 8 of October 1620. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 57 

XXII 

To Mr Tho, Porter, after Capt, Porter ; 
from Barcelona 

My dear Tom, 

1HAD no sooner set foot upon this soil and 
breathed Spanish air but my thoughts presently- 
reflected upon you. Of all my friends in England, 
you were the first I met here ; you were the prime 
object of my speculation. Methought the very 
winds in gentle whispers did breathe out your 
name and blow it on me. You seemed to rever- 
berate upon me with the beams of the sun, which 
you know hath such a powerful influence, and, in- 
deed, too great a stroke in this country. And all 
this you must ascribe to the operations of love, 
which hath such a strong virtual force that when 
it fasteneth upon a pleasing subject, it sets the im- 
agination in a strange fit of working ; it employs 
all the faculties of the soul, so that not one cell in 
the brain is idle ; it busieth the whole inward man, 
it aff^ects the heart, amuseth the understanding, it 
quickeneth the fancy, and leads the will as it were 
by a silken thread to co-operate with them all. I 
have felt these motions often in me, especially at 
this time, that my memory fixed upon you. But 
the reason that I fell first upon you in Spain was 
that I remembered I had heard you often discours- 
ing how you have received part of your education 
here, which brought you to speak the language so 



58 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

exactly well : I think often of the relations I have 
heard you make of this country and the good in- 
structions you pleased to give me. 

I am now in Barcelona, but the next week I 
intend to go on through your town of Valencia 
to Alicante, and thence you shall be sure to hear 
from me further, for I make account to winter 
there. The Duke of Ossuna passed by here lately, 
and having got leave of grace to release some 
slaves, he went aboard the Cape Gallic^ and pass- 
ing through the churma of slaves, he asked divers 
of them what their offences were. Everyone ex- 
cused himself, one saying that he was put in out 
of malice, another by bribery of the judge, but all 
of them unjustly. Amongst the rest there was one 
sturdy little black man, and the duke asking him 
what he was in for, " Sir," said he, "I cannot deny 
but I am justly put in here, for I wanted money, 
and so took a purse hard by Tarragona to keep 
me from starving." The duke with a little staif 
he had in his hand gave him two or three blows 
upon the shoulders, saying, " You rogue, what do 
you do amongst so many honest, innocent men ? 
Get you gone out of their company." So he was 
freed, and the rest remained still in statu quo primus 
to tug at the oar. 

I pray commend me to Signior Camillo and 
Mazalao, with the rest of the Venetians with you, 
and when you go aboard the ship behind the ex- 
change, think upon yours, J. H. 

Barcelona, lo of November 1620. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 59 

XXIII 

To Sir James Crofts 

I AM now a good way within the body of Spain 
at Barcelona, a proud wealthy city, situated 
upon the Mediterranean, and is the metropolis of 
the Kingdom of Catalonia, called of old Hispania 
Tarraconensis. I had much ado to reach hither, 
for besides the monstrous abruptness of the way, 
these parts of the Pyrenese that border upon the 
Mediterranean are never without thieves by land 
(called bandeleros) and pirates on the seaside, 
which lie skulking in the hollows of the rocks, and 
often surprise passengers unawares and carry them 
slaves to Barbary on the other side. The safest way 
to pass is to take a Bordon in the habit of a pilgrim, 
whereof there are an abundance that perform their 
vows this way to the Lady of Monserrat, one of the 
prime places of pilgrimage in Christendom. It is 
a stupendous monastery, built on the top of a huge 
land rock, whither it is impossible to go up or come 
down by a direct way, but a path is cut out full 
of windings and turnings ; and on the crown of 
this craggy hill there is a flat, upon which the 
monastery and pilgrimage place is founded, where 
there is a picture of the Virgin Mary, sunburnt 
and tanned, it seems, when she went to Egypt; 
and to this picture a marvellous confluence of 
people from all parts of Europe resort. 



6o FAMILIAR LETTERS 

As I passed between some of the Pyrenese hills 
I observed the poor Labradors. Some of the 
country people live no better than brute animals 
in point of food, for their ordinary commons is 
grass and water, only they have always within 
their houses a bottle of vinegar and another of 
oil, and when dinner or supper time comes, they 
go abroad and gather their herbs and so cast 
vinegar and oil upon them, and will pass thus 
two or three days without bread or wine, yet are 
they strong, lusty men, and will stand stiffly under 
a musket. 

There is a tradition that there were divers mines 
of gold in ages past amongst those mountains. And 
the shepherds that kept goats then, having made a 
small fire of rosemary stubs, with other combustible 
stuff to warm themselves, this fire grazed along, 
and grew so outrageous, that it consumed the very 
entrails of the earth and melted those mines, which 
growing fluid by liquefaction ran down into the 
small rivulets that were in the valleys, and so 
carried all into the sea, that monstrous gulf which 
swalloweth all, but seldom disgorges anything; 
and in these brooks to this day some small grains 
of gold are found. 

The viceroy of this country hath taken much 
pains to clear these hills of robbers, and there hath 
been a notable havoc made of them this year ; for 
in divers woods as I passed I might spy some trees 
laden with dead carcases, a better fruit far than 
Diogenes* tree bore, whereon a woman had hanged 



OF JAMES HOWELL 6i 

herself, which the cynic cried out to be the best 
bearing tree that ever he saw. 

In this place there lives neither English mer- 
chant or factor, which I wonder at, considering 
that it is a maritime town, and one of the greatest 
in Spain ; her chiefest arsenal for galleys, and the 
scale by which she conveys her monies to Italy; 
but I believe the reason is that there is no com- 
modious port here for ships of any burthen but a 
large bay. I will enlarge myself no further at this 
time, but leave you to the guard and guidance of 
God, whose sweet hand of protection hath brought 
me through so many uncouth places and difficul- 
ties to this city. — So hoping to meet your letters 
in Alicante, where I shall anchor a good while, I 
rest yours to dispose of, 

J. H. 

Barcelona, 24 November 1620. 

XXIV 

To Dr Fr, Manse II ; from Valencia 

THOUGH it be the same glorious sun that 
shines upon you in England, which illu- 
minates also this part of the hemisphere, though 
it be the sun that ripeneth your pippins and 
our pomegranates ; your hops and our vineyards 
here, yet he dispenseth his heat in different de- 
grees of strength ; those rays that do but warm 
you in England, do half roast us here ; those 



62 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

beams that irradiate only and gild your honey- 
suckled fields, do scorch and parch this chinky 
gaping soil, and so put too many wrinkles upon 
the face of our common Mother the Earth. O 
blessed clime, O happy England, where there is 
such a rare temperature of heat and cold, and all 
the rest of elementary qualities, that one may pass 
(and suffer little) all the year long without either 
shade in summer or fire in winter. 

I am now in Valencia, one of the noblest cities 
of all Spain, situate in a large vegue or valley, 
above three score miles compass. Here are the 
strongest silks, the sweetest wines, the excellentest 
almonds, the best oils, and beautifulest females of 
all Spain, for the prime courtesans in Madrid and 
elsewhere are had hence. The very brute animals 
make themselves beds of rosemary and other fra- 
grant flowers hereabouts ; and when one is at sea, 
if the wind blow from the shore, he may smell this 
soil before he come in sight of it many leagues 
off, by the strong odoriferous scent it casts. As it 
is the most pleasant, so it is also the temperatest 
clime of all Spain, and they commonly call it the 
second Italy, which made the Moors, whereof 
many thousands were disterred and banished hence 
to Barbary, to think that paradise was in that 
part of the heavens which hung over this City. 
Some twelve miles off is old Sagunto, called 
now Morviedre, through which I passed, and saw 
many monuments of Roman antiquities there: 
amongst others there is the temple dedicated to 



OF JAMES HOWELL 63 

Venus, where the snake came about her neck, a 
little before Hannibal came thither. No more 
now, but that I heartily wish you were here with 
me, and I believe you would not desire to be a 
good while in England, — So I am, your 

J. H. 
Valencia, i of March 1620. 



XXV 

T^o Christopher yones^ Esq.^ at Grafs Inn 

I AM now (thanks be to God) come to Alicante, 
the chief rendevouz I aimed at in Spain ; for I 
am to send hence a commodity called barillia to Sir 
Robert Mansell for making of crystal glass, and 
I have treated with Signor Andriotti, a Genoa 
merchant, for a good round parcel of it, to the value 
of ^2000, by letters of credit from Master Richant, 
and upon his credit, I might have taken many 
thousand pounds more, he is so well known in the 
kingdom of Valencia. This barillia is a strange 
kind of vegetable, and it grows nowhere upon the 
surface of the earth in that perfection as here. 
The Venetians have it hence, and it is a commod- 
ity whereby this maritime town doth partly sub- 
sist, for it is an ingredient that goes to the making 
of the best Castile soap. It grows thus : It is a 
round thick earthy shrub that bears berries like 
barberries, but 'twixt blue and green. It lies close 
to the ground, and when it is ripe they dig it up 



64 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

by the roots, and put it together in cocks, where 
they leave it to dry many days like hay, then they 
make a pit of a fathom deep in the earth, and with 
an instrument like one of our prongs they take 
the tufts and put fire to them, and when the flame 
comes to the berries they melt, and dissolve into 
an azure liquor, and fall down into the pit till it 
be full ; then they dam it up, and some days after 
they open it, and find this barillia juice turned to 
a blue stone, so hard that it is scarce malleable. 
It is sold at one hundred crowns a ton, but I had 
it for less. There is also a spurious flower called 
gazull that grows here, but the glass that is made 
of that is not so resplendent and clear. I have been 
here now these three months, and most of my 
food has been grapes and bread, with other roots, 
which have made me so fat that 1 think if you saw 
me you would hardly know me, such nourriture 
this deep Sanguin Alicante grape gives. I have 
not received a syllable from you since I was in 
Antwerp, which transforms me to wonder, and en- 
genders odd thoughts of jealousy in me, that as my 
body grows fatter your love grows lanker towards 
me. I pray take oflF these scruples, and let me hear 
from you, else it will make a schism in friendship, 
which I hold to be a very holy league, and no less 
than a piacle to infringe it ; in which opinion I 
rest, your constant friend, 

J.H. 
Alicante, March i^^ 1621. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 65 

XXVI 

To Sir John North, Knight 

HAVING endured the brunt of a whole sum- 
mer in Spain, and tried the temper of all the 
other three seasons of the year up and down the 
kingdoms of Catalonia, Valencia, and Mercia, with 
some parts of Aragon, I am now to direct my 
course for Italy. I hoped to have embarked at 
Carthagena, the best port upon the Mediterranean, 
for what ships and galleys get in thither are shut 
up, as it were, in a box from the violence and in- 
jury of all weathers, which made Andrea Doria, 
being asked by Philip the Second which were his 
best harbours, he answered, "June, July, and 
Carthagena," meaning that any port is good in 
those two months, but Carthagena was good any 
time of the year. There was a most ruthful acci- 
dent had happened there a little before I came, for 
whereas five ships had gone thence laden with 
soldiers for Naples, amongst whom there was the 
flower of the gentry of the kingdom of Mercia, 
those ships had hardly sailed three leagues but 
they met with sixteen sails of Algiers, men-of- 
war, who had lain skulking in the creeks there- 
about, and they had the winds and all things else 
so favourable, that of those five ships they took 
one, sunk another, and burnt a third, and two fled 
back to safe harbour. The report hereof being 



66 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

bruited up and down the country, the gentle- 
women came from the country to have tidings, 
some of their children, others of their brothers 
and kindred, and went tearing their hair and 
howling up and down the streets in a most pite- 
ous manner. The admiral of those five ships, 
as I heard afterwards, was sent for to Madrid, 
and hanged at the court gate because he did not 
fight. Had I come time enough to have taken 
the opportunity, I might have been made either 
food for haddocks or turned to cinders, or have 
been by this time a slave in the bannier at Algiers, 
or tugging at an oar ; but I hope God hath re- 
served me for a better destiny. So I came back to 
Alicante, where I lighted upon a lusty Dutchman, 
who hath carried me safe hither, but we were near 
upon forty days in voyage. We passed by Majorca 
and Minorca, the Baleares Insulae, by some ports of 
Barbary, by Sardinia, Corsica, and all the islands 
of the Mediterranean Sea. We were at the mouth 
of Tiber, and thence fetched our course for Sicily. 
We passed by those sulphurous, fiery islands, 
Mongibel and Strombolo, and about the dawn of 
the day we shot through Scylla and Carybdis, and 
so into the phare of Messina : thence we touched 
upon some of the Greek islands, and so came to 
our first intended course, into the Venetian Gulf, 
and are now here at Malamocca, where we remain 
yet aboard, and must be content to be so, to make 
up the month before we have " pratic," that is, 
before any be permitted to go ashore and negotiate. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 67 

in regard we touched at some infected places ; for 
there are no people upon earth so fearful of 
the plague as the Italians, especially the Venetians, 
though their neighbours the Greeks hard by, and 
the Turks, have little or no apprehension at all of 
the danger of it, for they will visit and commerce 
with the sick without any scruple, and will fix 
their longest finger in the midst of their forehead 
and say their destiny and manner of death is 
pointed there. When we have gained yonder 
maiden city which lieth before us you shall hear 
farther from me ; so leaving you to His holy pro- 
tection who hath thus graciously vouchsafed to 
preserve this ship and me in so long and danger- 
ous a voyage, I rest, yours. 



J.H, 



Malamocca, Jpril the ^O^ 1621, 



XXVII 



To my Brother^ Dr Howell ; from a Shipboard 
before Venicz 

Brother, 

IF this letter fail either in point of orthography 
or style, you must impute the first to the 
tumbling posture my body was in at the writing 
hereof, being a shipboard, the second the muddi- 
ness of my brain, which like lees in a narrow ves- 
sel, hath been shaken at sea in divers tempests 



68 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

near upon forty days, I mean natural days, which 
include the nights also, and are composed of four 
and twenty hours, by which number the Italian 
computes his time, and tells his clock, for at the 
writing hereof, I heard one from Malamocca strike 
one and twenty hours. When I shall have saluted 
yonder virgin city that stands before me, and hath 
tantalised me now this sennight, I hope to cheer 
my spirits, and settle my pericranium again. 

In this voyage we passed through, at least 
touched, all those seas, which Horace and other 
poets sing of so often, as the Ionian, the iEgean, 
the Icarian, the Tyrrhene, with others, and now 
we are in the Adrian Sea, in the mouth whereof 
Venice stands like a gold ring in a bear's muzzle. 
We passed also by iEtna, by the infames Scopulos^ 
Acroceraunia, and through Scylla and Charybdis, 
about which the ancient poets, both Greek and 
Latin, keep such a coil, but they are nothing so 
horrid or dangerous, as they make them to be : 
they are two white keen-pointed rocks, that lie 
under water diametrically opposed, and like two 
dragons defying one another, and there are pilots, 
that in small shallops, are ready to steer all ships 
that pass. This amongst divers other, may serve 
for an instance that the old poets used to heighten 
and hoist up things by their airy fancies above the 
reality of truth. ^Etna was very furious when we 
passed by as she useth to be sometimes more than 
other, specially when the wind Is southward, for 
then she Is more subject to belching out flakes of 



OF JAMES HOWELL 69 

fire (as stutterers use to stammer more when the 
wind Is in that hole) ; some of the sparkles fell 
aboard of us, but they would make us believe in 
Syracuse, now Messina, that iEtna in times passed 
hath eructated such huge gobbets of fire, that the 
sparks of them have burnt houses in Malta, above 
fifty miles off, transported thither by a direct 
strong wind. We passed hard by Corinth, now 
Ragusa, but I was not so happy as to touch there, 
for you know 

Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum. 

I conversed with many Greeks but found none 
that could understand, much less practically speak 
any of the old dialects of the pristine Greek, it is so 
adulterated by the vulgar, as a bed of flowers by 
weeds, nor is there any people, either in the 
islands or on the Continent, that speaks it con- 
versably, yet there are in the Morea seven parishes 
called Zacones, where the original Greek is not 
much degenerated, but they confound divers let- 
ters of the alphabet with one sound, for in point 
of pronunciation there is no difference *twixt Ep- 
silon, Iota, and Eta. 

The last I received from you was in Latin, 
whereof I sent you an answer from Spain in the 
same language, though in a coarser dialect. I shall 
be a guest to Venice a good while, therefore I de- 
sire a frequency of correspondence between us by 
letters, for there will be conveniency every week 
of receiving and sending; when you write to 



70 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

Wales, I pray send advice, that I am come safe to 
Italy, though not landed there yet. So my dear 
brother, I pray God bless us both, and all our 
friends, and reserve me to see you again with com- 
fort, and you me, who am your loving brother, 

J. H. 
May the 5, 1621. 

XXVIII 

T(5 the Honourable Sir Robert Mans ell, Vice- 
Admiral of England ; from Venice 

AS soon as I came to Venice, I applied myself 
to dispatch your business according to in- 
structions, and Mr Seymor was ready to contrib- 
ute his best furtherance. These two Italians who 
are the bearers hereof, by report here, are the best 
gentlemen-workmen that ever blew crystal, one is 
allied to Antonio Miotti, the other is cousin to 
Mazalao ; for other things they shall be sent in 
the ship Lion^ which rides here at Malamocca, as 
I shall send you account by conveyance of Mr 
Symns. Herewith I have sent a letter to you from 
Sir Henry Wotton, the Lord Ambassador here, of 
whom I have received some favours. He wished 
me to write, that you have now a double interest 
in him ; for whereas before he was only your ser- 
vant, he is now your kinsman by your late mar- 
riage. 

I was lately to see the arsenal of Venice, one of 



OF JAMES HOWELL 71 

the worthiest things of Christendom ; they say- 
there are as many galleys, and galeasses of all sorts, 
belonging to Saint Mark, either in course, at an- 
chor, in dock, or upon the carine, as there be days 
in the year ; here they can build a complete galley 
in half a day, and put her afloat in perfect equip- 
age, having all the ingredients fitted before-hand, 
as they did in three hours, when Henry the Third 
passed this way to France from Poland, who 
wished, that besides Paris and his parliament 
towns, he had this arsenal in exchange for three 
of his chiefest cities. There are three hundred 
people perpetually here at work, and if one comes 
young and grows old in Saint Mark's service, he 
hath a pension from the State during life. Being 
brought to see one of the Clarissimos that governs 
this arsenal, this huge sea store-house, amongst 
other matters reflecting upon England, he was 
saying: "That if Cavalier Don Roberto Mansell 
were now here, he thought verily the republic 
would make a proffer to him to be admiral of that 
fleet of galleys and galleons, which are now going 
against the Duke of Ossuna and the forces of 
Naples," you are so well known here. 

I was, since I came hither, in Murano, a little 
island about the distance of Lambeth from Lon- 
don, where crystal glass is made, and it is a rare 
sight to see a whole street, where on the one side 
there are twenty furnaces together at work. They 
say here that although one should transplant a 
glass-furnace from Murano to Venice herself, or 



72 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

to any of the little assembly of islands about her, 
or to any other part of the earth besides, and use 
the same materials, the same workmen, the same 
fuel, the self-same ingredients every way, yet they 
cannot make crystal glass in that perfection, for 
beauty and lustre, as in Murano. Some impute it 
to the quality of the circumambient air that hangs 
over the place, which is purified and attenuated 
by the concurrence of so many fires that are in 
those furnaces night and day perpetually, for they 
are like the vestal fire which never goes out. And 
it is well known that some airs make more quali- 
fying impressions than others, as a Greek told me 
in Sicily of the air of Egypt, where there be huge 
common furnaces to hatch eggs by the thousands 
in camel's dung; for, during the time of hatching 
if the air happen to come to be overcast and grow 
cloudy, it spoils all ; if the sky continue still, 
serene, and clear, not one egg in a hundred will 
miscarry. 

I met with Camillo, your Consaorman, here 
lately, and could he be sure of entertainment, he 
would return to serve you again, and, I believe, 
for less salary. 

I shall attend your commands herein by the 
next, and touching other particulars, whereof I 
have written to Captain Bacon. So I rest, your 
most humble and ready servant, 

J. H. 

Venice, May the 30, 1621. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 73 

XXIX 

To my Brother; from Venice 

Brother, 

I FOUND a letter of yours that had lain dor- 
mant here a good while in Mr Symns' hands, 
to welcome me to Venice, and I thank you for the 
variety of news wherewith she went freighted ; for 
she was to me as a ship richly laden from London 
used to be to our merchants here, and I esteem her 
cargozan at no less a value, for she enriched me 
with the knowledge of my father's health and 
your own, with the rest of my brothers and sisters 
in the country, with divers other passages of con- 
tentment; besides, she went also ballasted with 
your good instructions, which, as merchants used 
to do of their commodities, I will turn to the best 
advantage, and Italy is no ill market to improve 
anything. The only proceed (that I may use the 
mercantile term) you can expect is thanks, and 
this way I shall not be wanting to make you rich 
returns. 

Since I came to this town I dispatched sundry 
businesses of good value for Sir Robert Mansel, 
which I hope will give content. The art of glass- 
making here is very highly valued ; for, whosoever 
be of that profession are gentlemen ipso factOy and 
it is not without reason ; it being a rare kind of 
knowledge and chemistry to transmute dust and 



74 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

sand (for they are the only main ingredients) to 
such a diaphanous pellucid dainty body as you see 
a crystal glass is, which hath this property above 
gold or silver or any other mineral, to admit no 
poison ; as also that it never wastes or loses a whit 
of its first weight, though you use it never so 
long. When I saw so many sorts of curious 
glasses made here I thought upon the compliment 
which a gentleman put upon a lady in England, 
who having five or six comely daughters, said 
he never saw in his life such a dainty cupboard 
of crystal glasses ; the compliment proceeds, it 
seems, ' from a saying they have here, " That 
the first handsome woman that ever was made, 
was made of Venice glass," which implies beauty, 
but brittleness withal (and Venice is not un- 
furnished with some of that mould, for no place 
abounds more with lasses and glasses). But 
when I pried into the materials, and observed 
the furnaces and the calcinations, the transub- 
stantiations, the liquefactions that are incident to 
this art, my thoughts were raised to a higher 
speculation : that if this small furnace-fire hath 
virtue to convert such a small lump of dark dust 
and sand into such a precious clear body as crys- 
tal, surely that grand universal fire which shall hap- 
pen at the day of judgment, may by its violent 
ardour vitrify and turn to one lump of crystal the 
whole body of the earth, nor am I the first that fell 
upon this conceit. 

I will enlarge myself no further to you at this 



OF JAMES HOWELL 75 

time, but conclude with this tetrastic which my 
brain ran upon in my bed this morning. 

Vitrea sunt nostrae commissa negotia curae 
Hoc oculis speculum mittimus ergo tuis : 

Quod speculum ? est instar speculi mea litera, per quod 
Vivida fraterni cordis imago nitet. 

Adieu, my dear brother, live happily and love 
your brother, J. H. 

Venice, the i of June 1621. 

XXX 

To Mr Richard Altham at Grafs Inn ; from 
Venice 

Gentle Sir, 

O dulcior illo 

Mille quod in ceris Attica ponit apis. 

O thou who dost in sweetness far excel. 
That juice the Attic bee stores in her cell. 

My dear Dick, 

I HAVE now a good while since taken foot- 
ing in Venice, this admired maiden city, so 
called because she was never deflowered by any 
enemy since she had a being, not since her Rialto 
was first erected, which is now above twelve ages 
ago. 

I protest unto you at my first landing I was for 
some days ravished with the high beauty of this 
maid, with her lovely countenance. I admired her 
magnificent buildings, her marvellous situation, her 



76 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

dainty smooth neat streets, whereon you may walk 
most days in the year in a silk stocking and satin 
slippers, without soiling them, nor can the streets 
of Paris be so foul, as these are fair. This beaute- 
ous maid hath been often attempted to be vitiated ; 
some have courted her, some bribed her, some 
would have forced her, yet she hath still preserved 
her chastity entire ; and though she hath lived so 
many ages, and passed so many shrewd brunts, 
yet she continueth fresh to this very day, without 
the least wrinkle of old age or any symptoms of 
detay, whereunto political bodies, as well as natural, 
use to be liable. Besides she hath wrestled with 
the greatest potentates upon earth. The Emperor, 
the King of France, and most of the other princes 
of Christendom, in that famous league of Cambray, 
would have sunk her ; but she bore up still within 
her lakes, and broke that league to pieces by her 
wit. The Grand Turk hath been often at her, 
and though he could not have his will of her, yet 
he took away the richest jewel she wore in her 
coronet and put it in his turban — I mean the king- 
dom of Cyprus, the only royal gem she had ; 
he hath sat upon her skirts often since, and though 
she closed with him sometimes, yet she came off 
still with her maidenhead, though some that envy 
her happiness, would brand her to be of late times 
a kind of concubine to him, and that she gives him 
ready money once a year to lie with her, which 
she minceth by name of present, though it be 
indeed rather a tribute. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 77 

I would I had you here with a wish, and you 
would not desire in haste to be at Gray's Inn, 
though I hold your walks to be the pleasantest 
place about London ; and that you have there the 
choicest society. I pray present my kind commen- 
dations to all there, and service at Bishopsgate 
Street, and let me hear from you by the next post. 
— So I am, entirely yours, J. H. 

Venice, 5 June 1621. 



XXXI 

To Dr Frank Mansell ; from Venice 



G 



IVE me leave to salute you first in these 
sapphics. 

Insulam tendens iter ad Britannam 
Charta, de paucis volo, siste gressum. 
Verba Mansello, bene noscis ilium, 
Talia perfer, 

' Finibus longe patriis Hoellus 

Dimorans, quantis Venetum superba 
Civitas leucis Doroberniensi 

Distat ab urbe ; 

Plurimam mentis tibi vult salutem, 
Plurium cordis tibi vult vigorem, 
Plurimum sortis tibi vult favorem 
Regis et Aulae. 

These wishes come to you from Venice, a place 



78 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

where there is nothing wanting that heart can wish; 
renowned Venice, the admiredst city in the world, 
a city that all Europe is bound unto, for she is her 
greatest rampart against that huge eastern tyrant 
the Turk by sea, else I believe he had overrun all 
Christendom by this time. Against him this city 
hath performed notable exploits, and not only 
against him, but divers other. She hath restored 
emperors to their thrones, and popes to their chairs, 
and with her galleys often preserved Saint Peter's 
barque from sinking : for which, by way of reward, 
one of his successors espoused her to the sea, which 
marriage is solemnly renewed every year in solemn 
procession by the Doge and all the Clarissimos, 
and a gold ring cast into the sea out of the great 
galleasse, called the Bucentoro^ wherein the first 
ceremony was performed by the Pope himself, 
above three hundred years since, and they say it is 
the self-same vessel still, though often put upon 
the careen and trimmed. This made me think on 
that famous ship at Athens ; nay, I fell upon an 
abstracted notion in philosophy, and a speculation 
touching the body of man, which being in perpet- 
ual flux, and a kind of succession of decays, and 
consequently requiring ever and anon a restoration 
of what it loseth of the virtue of the former ailment, 
and what was converted after the third concoction 
into blood and fleshly substance, which, as in all 
other sublunary bodies that have internal princi- 
ples of heat, uses to transpire, breathe out, and waste 
away through invisible pores by exercise, motion, 



RV' 



OF JAMES HOWELL 79 

and sleep to make room still for a supply of new 
nourriture. I fell, I say, to consider whether our 
bodies may be said to be of like condition with this 
BucentorOy which, though it be reputed still the 
same vessel, yet I believe there 's not a foot of that 
timber remaining which it had upon the first dock, 
having been, as they tell me, so often planked and 
ribbed, caulked and pieced. In like manner our 
bodies may be said to be daily repaired by new 
sustenance, which begets new blood, and conse- 
quently new spirits, new humours, and I may say 
new flesh, the old by continual deperdition and 
insensible transpirations evaporating still out of us, 
and giving way to fresh ; so that I make a ques- 
tion, whether by reason of these perpetual prepara- 
tions and accretions the body of man may be said 
to be the same numerical body in his old age that 
he had in his manhood, or the same in his manhood 
that he had in his youth, the same in his youth that 
he carried about him in his childhood, or the same 
in his childhood which he wore first in the womb. 
I make a doubt whether I had the same identical 
individually numerical body when I carried a calf- 
leather satchel to school in Hereford, as when I 
wore a lambskin hood in Oxford, or whether I 
have the same mass of blood in my veins, and the 
same flesh now in Venice which I carried about me 
three years since up and down London streets, 
having in lieu of beer and ale drunk wine all this 
while, and fed upon difi^erent viands ; now the 
stomach is like a crucible, for it hath a chemical 



8o FAMILIAR LETTERS 

kind of virtue to transmute one body into an- 
other, to transubstantiate fish and fruits into flesh 
within, and about us ; but though it be questionable 
whether I wear the same flesh which is fluxible, I 
am sure my hair is not the same, for you may 
remember I went flaxen-haired out of England, but 
you shall find me returned with a very dark brown, 
which I impute not only to the heat and air of 
those hot countries I have eat my bread in, but to 
the quality and difi^erence of food; but you will 
say that hair is but an excrementitious thing, and 
makes not to this purpose ; moreover, methinks I 
hear you say that this may be true, only in the 
blood and spirits, or such fluid parts, not in the 
solid and heterogeneal parts ; but I will press no 
further at this time this philosophical notion which 
the fight o{ Bucentoro infused into me, for it hath 
already made me exceed the bounds of a letter, 
and I fear me to trespass too much upon your 
patience. I leave the further disquisition of this 
point to your own contemplations, who are a far 
riper philosopher than I, and have waded deeper 
into, and drunk more of Aristotle's Well; but to 
conclude, though it be doubtful whether I carry 
about me the same body or no, in all points that I 
had in England, I am well assured I bear still the 
same mind, and therein I verify the old verse — 

Coelum non animam mutant qui trans mare currunt. 

The air but not the mind they change. 
Who in outlandish countries range. 

For what alterations soever happen in this micro- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 8i 

cosm, In this little world, this small bulk and body 
of mine, you may be confident that nothing shall 
alter my affections, specially towards you, but that 
I will persevere still the same, the very same, 

J.H. 
Venice, 25 June 1621. 



XXXII 

T^o Richard Altham^ Esquire 

I WAS plunged in a deep fit of melancholy, Sa- 
turn had cast his black influence over all my 
intellectuals. Methought I felt my heart as a 
lump of dough, and heavy as lead within my 
breast; when a letter of yours of the 3rd of this 
month was brought me, which presently begot 
new spirits within me, and made such strong im- 
pressions upon my intellectuals, that it turned and 
transformed me into another man. I have read of 
a Duke of Milan and others, who were poisoned 
by reading of a letter, but yours produced con- 
trary effects in me ; it became an antidote, or 
rather a most sovereign cordial, to me, more op- 
erative than bezoar, of more virtue than potable 
gold or the elixir of amber, for it wrought a sud- 
den cure upon me. That fluent and rare mixture 
of love and wit, which I found up and down 
therein, were the ingredients of this cordial ; they 
were as so many choice flowers, strewed here and 
there, which did cast such an odoriferous scent, 



82 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

that they revived all my senses, and dispelled 
those dull fumes which had formerly overclouded 
my brain. Such was the operation of your most 
ingenious and affectionate letter, and so sweet an 
entertainment it gave me. If your letter had that 
virtue, what would your person have done ? And 
did you know all, you would wish your person 
here a while — did you know the rare beauty of 
this Virgin City, you would quickly make love to 
her, and change your Royal Exchange for the 
Rialto, and your Gray's Inn Walks for Saint 
Mark's Place for a time. Farewell, dear child of 
Virtue, and minion of the Muses, and love still 
your J. H. 

Venice, i July 1621. 

XXXIII 

To my much honoured friend ^ Sir John North, 
Knight; from Venice 

Noble Sir, 

THE first office of gratitude is to receive a 
good turn civilly, then to retain it in mem- 
ory and acknowledge it ; thirdly, to endeavour a 
requital for this last office. It is in vain for me to 
attempt it, specially towards you, who have laden 
me with such a variety of courtesies and weighty 
favours, that my poor stock comes far short of 
any retaliation ; but for the other two, reception, 
and retention, as I am not conscious to have 



OF JAMES HOWELL 83 

been wanting in the first act, so I shall never fail 
in the second, because both these are within the 
compass of my power ; for if you could pry into 
my memory, you should discover there a huge 
magazine of your favours (you have been pleased 
to do me present and absent) safely stored up 
and coacervated, to preserve them from moulder- 
ing away in oblivion ; for courtesies should be no 
perishable commodity. Should I attempt any 
other requital, I should extenuate your favours 
and derogate from the worth of them ; yet if to 
this of the memory I can contribute any other act 
of body or mind, to enlarge my acknowledgments 
towards you, you may be well assured that I shall 
be ever ready to court any occasion whereby the 
world may know how much I am your thankful 
servitor, J. H. 

Venice, 13 July 1621. 

XXXIV 
To Dan. Caldwell^ Esq, ; from Venice 

My dear D., 

COULD letters fly with the same wings as love 
useth to do, and cut the air with the like 
swiftness of motion, this letter of mine should 
work a miracle, and be with you in an instant ; nor 
should she fear interception or any other casualty 
in the way, or cost you one penny the post, for 
she should pass invisibly ; but *t is not fitting that 



84 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

paper, which is made but of old rags, wherewith 
letters are swaddled, should have the same privi- 
lege as love, which is a spiritual thing, having 
something of divinity in it, and partakes in celerity 
with the imagination, than which there is not any- 
thing more swift, you know — no, not the motion 
of the upper sphere, the primum mobile^ which 
snatcheth all the other nine after, and indeed the 
whole macrocosm all the world besides, except 
our earth (the centre), which upper sphere the as- 
tronomers would have to move so many degrees, 
so many thousand miles in a moment. Since, then, 
letters are denied such a velocity, I allow this of 
mine twenty days, which is the ordinary time al- 
lowed betwixt Venice and London, to come unto 
you, and thank you a thousand times over for your 
last of the tenth of June, and the rich venison feast 
you made, as I understand, not long since, to the 
remembrance of me, at the Ship Tavern. Believe 
it, sir, you shall find that this love of yours is not 
ill employed, for I esteem it at the highest degree. 
I value it more than the Treasury of Saint Mark, 
which I lately saw, where among other things 
there is a huge iron chest, as tall as myself, that 
hath no lock, but a crevice through which they 
cast in the gold that is bequeathed to Saint Mark 
in legacies, whereon there is engraven this proud 
motto — 

Quando questo scrinio S'apria 
Tutto '1 mundo tremera. 

When this chest shall open, the whole world 



OF JAMES HOWELL 85 

shall tremble. The Duke of Ossuna^ late Viceroy 
of Naples, did what he could to force them to 
open it, for he brought Saint Mark to waste much 
of this treasure in the late wars, which he made 
purposely to that end, which made them have 
recourse to us and the Hollander for ships, not 
long since. 

Amongst the rest of Italy this is called the 
Maiden City (notwithstanding her great number 
of courtesans), and there is a prophecy, "That 
she shall continue a maid until her husband forsake 
her," meaning the sea, to whom the Pope married 
her long since, and the sea is observed not to love 
her so deeply as he did, for he begins to shrink 
and grow shallower in some places about her ; nor 
doth the Pope also, who was the father that gave 
her to the sea, affect her so much as he formerly 
did, especially since the extermination of the 
Jesuits: so that both husband and father begin to 
abandon her. 

I am to be a guest to this hospitable maid a 
good while yet, and if you want any commodity 
that she can afford (and what cannot she afford for 
human pleasure or delight?) do but write, and it 
shall be sent you. 

Farewell, gentle soul, and correspond still in 
pure love with your 

J.H. 

Venice, 29 of July 1621. 



86 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XXXV 

To Sir yames Crofts^ Knight; from Venice 

I RECEIVED one of yours the last week, that 
came in my Lord Ambassador Wotton's 
packet, and being now upon point of parting with 
Venice, I could not do it without acquainting you 
(as far as the extent of a letter will permit) with 
her power, her policy, her wealth, and pedigree. 
She was built of the ruins of Aquileia and Padua, 
for when those swarms of tough northern people 
overran Italy under the conduct of that scourge of 
heaven Attila, with others, and that this soft vo- 
luptuous nation, after so long a desuetude from 
arms, could not repel their fury, many of the 
ancient nobility and gentry fled into these lakes 
and little islands, amongst the fishermen for their 
security, and finding the air good and commodious 
for habitation, they began to build upon those 
small islands, whereof there are in all threescore ; 
and in tract of time, they conjoined and leagued 
them together by bridges, whereof there are now 
above eight hundred, and this makes up the city of 
Venice, who is now above twelve ages old, and was 
contemporary with the monarchy of France; but 
the signiory glorieth in one thing above the mon- 
archy, that she was born a Christian, but the 
monarchy not. Though this city be thus hemmed 
in with the sea, yet she spreads her wings far and wide 



OF JAMES HOWELL 87 

upon the shore ; she hath in Lombardy six con- 
siderable towns, Padua, Verona, Vicenza, Brescia, 
Crema and Bergamo; she hath in the Marquisat, 
Bassan and Castelfranco ; she hath all Friuli and 
Istria; she commands the shores of Dalmatia and 
Slavonia ; she keeps under the power of Saint 
Mark, the islands of Corfu (anciently Corcyria), 
Cephalonia, Zant, Cerigo, Lucerigo, and Candy 
(Jove^s Cradle) ; she had a long time the kingdom 
of Cyprus, but it was quite rent from her by the 
Turk, which made that high spirited Bassa, being 
taken prisoner at the battle of Lepanto, where the 
grand signior lost above 200 galleys, to say, 
" That that defeat to his great master was but like 
the shaving of his beard or the paring of his nails ; 
but the taking of Cyprus was like the cutting off 
of a limb, which will never grow again." This 
mighty potentate being so near a neighbour to her 
she is forced to comply with him and give him an 
annual present in gold: she hath about thirty gal- 
leys most part of the year in course to scour and 
secure the gulf; she entertains by land in Lom- 
bardy and other parts 25,000 foot, besides some 
of the cantons of Suisses whom she gives pay 
unto ; she hath also in constant pay 600 men 
of arms, and every of these must keep two 
horses a-piece, for which they are allowed 120 
ducats a year, and they are for the most part gen- 
tlemen of Lombardy. When they have any great 
expedition to make, they have always a stranger 
for their general, but he is supervised by two 



88 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

proveditors, without whom he cannot attempt any 
thing. 

Her great Council consists of above 2000 gen- 
tlemen, and some of them meet every Sunday and 
holiday to choose officers and magistrates, and 
every gentleman being past twenty-five years of 
age is capable to sit in this Council. The Doge or 
Duke (their sovereign magistrate) is chosen by 
lots, which would be too tedious here to demon- 
strate, and commonly he is an aged man who is 
created, like that course they hold in the popedom. 
When he is dead there be inquisitors that examine 
his actions, and his misdemeanours are punishable 
in his heirs. There is a superintendent council of 
ten, and six of them may dispatch business with- 
out the doge, but the doge never without some of 
them, not as much as open a letter from any for- 
eign state, though addressed to himself, which 
makes him to be called by other princes, T^esta di 
legno^ a head of wood. 

The wealth of this republic hath been at a stand, 
or rather declining, since the Portugal found a 
road to the East Indies by the Cape of Good 
Hope ; for this city was used to fetch' all those 
spices and other Indian commodities from the 
grand Cairo down the Nile, being formerly 
carried to Cairo from the Red Sea upon camels' 
and dromedaries* backs, threescore days' journey ; 
and so Venice used to dispense those commodities 
through all Christendom, which not only the Port- 
ugal, but the English and Hollander, now trans- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 89 

port, and are masters of the trade. Yet there is no 
outward appearance at all of poverty, or any decay 
in this city, but she is still gay, flourishing, and 
fr6sh, and flowing with all kind of bravery and 
delight, which may be had at cheap rates. Much 
more might be written of this ancient wise Repub- 
lic, which cannot be comprehended within the nar- 
row enclosure of a letter. So with my due and daily 
prayers for a continuance of your health, and in- 
crease of honour, I rest, your most humble and 
ready servitor, J. H. 

Venice, i of August 1621. 

XXXVI 

T(9 Robert Brown, Esquire, at the Middle 
Temple ; from Venice 

Robin, 

I HAVE now enough of the maiden city, and 
this week I am to go further into Italy ; for 
though I have been a good while in Venice, yet I 
cannot say I have been hitherto upon the conti- 
nent of Italy : for this city is nought else but a 
knot of islands in the Adriatic Sea, joined in one 
body by bridges, and a good way distant from the 
firm land. I have lighted upon very choice com- 
pany, your cousin Brown and Master Wed, and 
we all take the road of Lombardy, but we made 
an order amongst ourselves that our discourse be 
always in the language of the country, under pen- 



90 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

alty of a forfeiture, which is to be indispensably 
paid. Randal Symns made us a curious feast lately, 
where in a cup of the richest Greek we had your 
health, and I could not tell whether the wine or 
the remembrance of you was sweeter ; for it was 
naturally a kind of aromatic wine, which left a fra- 
grant perfuming kind of farewell behind it. I have 
sent you a runlet of it in the ship Lion, and if it 
come safe, and unpricked, I pray bestow some bot- 
tles upon the lady (you know) with my humble 
service. When you write next to Master Simns, 
I pray acknowledge the good hospitality and ex- 
traordinary civilities I received from him. Before 
I conclude I will acquaint you with a common say- 
ing that is used of this dainty city of Venice : 

Venetia, Venetia, chi non te vede non te pregia. 
Ma chi t* ha troppo veduto te dispreggia. 

Englished and rhymed thus (though I know you 
need no translation, you understand so much of 
Italian): 

Venice, Venice, none thee unseen can prize. 
Who hath seen too much will thee despise. 

I will conclude with that famous hexastic which 
Sannazaro made of this rare city, which pleaseth 
me much better : 

Viderat Hadriacis Venetam Neptunus in undis 
Stare urbem, et toti ponere jura Mari ; 

Nunc mihi Tarpeias quantum vis, Jupiter, Arces 
Objice, et ilia tui moenia Martis ait. 

Sic Pelago Tibrim praefers, urbem aspice utramque, 
lUam homines dices, hanc posuisse Deos. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 91 

When Neptune saw in Adrian surges stand 
Venice, and gave the sea laws of command : 
Now Jove, said he, object thy Capitol, 
And Mars' proud walls : this were for to extol 
Tyber beyond the main ; both towns behold ; 
Rome, men thou 'It say, Venice the Gods did mould. 

Sannazaro had given him by Saint Mark a hun- 
dred zecchins for every one of these verses, which 
amounts to about 300 pounds. It would be long 
before the city of London would do the like. 
Witness that cold reward, or rather those cold 
drops of water which were cast upon my country- 
man. Sir Hugh Middleton, for bringing Ware 
River through her streets, the most serviceable 
and wholesomest benefit that ever she received. 

The parcel of Italian books that you write for 
you shall receive from Master Leat, if it please 
God to send the ship to safe port ; and I take it 
as a favour that you employ me in anything that 
may conduce to your contentment. — Because, I 
am your serious servitor, J. H. 

Venice, 12 August 1621. 

XXXVII 

To Capt, Thomas Porter ; from Venice 

My dear Captain, 

AS I was going a shipboard in Alicante, a let- 
ter of yours in Spanish came to hand. I dis- 
covered two things in it, first, what a master you 



92 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

are of that language, then how mindful you are 
of your friend. For the first I dare not correspond 
with you yet ; for the second, I shall never come 
short of you, for I am as mindful of you, as possi- 
bly you can be of me, and some hours my pulse 
doth not beat more often than my memory runs 
on you, which is often enough in conscience ; for 
the physicians hold that in every well-disposed 
body there be above 4000 pulsations every hour, 
and some pulses have been known to beat above 
30,000 times an hour in acute fevers. 

I understand you are bound with a gallant fleet 
for the Mediterranean ; if you come to Alicante, 
I pray commend me to Francesco Marco, my land- 
lord ; he is a merry droll and good company. 
One night when I was there he sent his boy with 
a borracha of leather under his cloak for wine, 
the boy coming back about ten o'clock and pass- 
ing by the guard, one asked him whether he car- 
ried any weapons about him (for none must wear 
any weapons there after ten at night). " No,*' 
quoth the boy, being pleasant, " I have but a little 
dagger." The watch came and searched him, and 
finding the borracha full of good wine, drank it 
all up, saying, '' Sirrah, you know no man must 
carry any weapons so late; but, because we know 
whose servant you are, there 's the scabbard of 
your dagger again," and so threw him the empty 
borracho. But another passage pleased me better 
of Don Beltram de Rosa, who being to marry a 
rich Labrador's (a Yeoman's) daughter hard by. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 93 

which was much importuned by her parents to 
the match, because their family should be thereby 
ennobled, he being a Cavalier of Saint Jago. The 
young maid having understood that Don Beltram 
had been in Naples, and had that disease about 
him, answered wittily, " En verdad por adobar me 
la sangre, no quiero dannarmi la carne " (truly, 
sir, to better my blood, I will not hurt my flesh). 
I doubt I shall not be in England before you set 
out to sea ; if not, I take my leave of you in this 
paper, and wish you a prosperous voyage and an 
honourable return ; it is the hearty prayers of 
yours, J. H. 

Venice, 21 August 1621. 

XXXVIII 

To Sir William Saint John, Knight; from Venice 

HAVING seen Antenor's tomb in Padua, and 
the amphitheatre of Flaminius in Verona, 
with other brave towns in Lombardy, I am now 
come to Rome, and Rome they say is every man's 
country ; she is called Comunis Patria, for every one 
that is within the compass of the Latin Church finds 
himself here, as it were, at home and in his mother's 
house. In regard of interest in religion, which is 
the cause that for one native there be ^yq, strangers 
that sojourn in this city, and without any distinction 
or mark of strangeness, they come to preferments 
and offices both in Church and State, according to 



94 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

merit, which is more valued and sought after here 
than anywhere. 

But whereas I expected to have found Rome 
elevated upon seven hills, I met her rather spread- 
ing upon a flat, having humbled herself since she 
was made a Christian and descended from those 
hills to Campus Martius,with Trasteren, and the 
suburbs of Saint Peter she hath yet in compass, 
about fourteen miles, which is far short of that vast 
circuit she had in Claudius* time ; for Vopiscus 
writes she was then of fifty miles circumference, 
and she had five hundred thousand free citizens in 
a famous census that was made, which, allowing but 
six to every family in women, children, and ser- 
vants, came to three millions of souls ; but she is 
now a wilderness in comparison of that number. 
The Pope is grown to be a great temporal prince 
of late years, for the state of the Church extends 
above 300 miles in length and 200 miles in 
breadth; it contains Ferrara, Bologna, Romagna, 
the Marquisat of Ancona, Umbria, Sabina, Peru- 
gia, with a part of Tuscany, the Patrimony, Rome 
herself, and Latium. In these there are above fifty 
bishopricks, the Pope hath also the Duchy of 
Spoleto, and the exarchat of Ravena, he hath the 
town of Benevento in the kingdom of Naples, and 
the country of Venice, called Avignon in France ; 
he hath title also good enough to Naples itself; 
but, rather than offend his champion the King of 
Spain, he is contented with a white mule and purse 
of pistoles about the neck, which he receives every 



OF JAMES HOWELL 95 

year for a heriot or homage, or what you will call 
it. He pretends also to be Lord Paramount of 
Sicily, Urbin, Parma, and Masseran, of Norway, 
Ireland, and England, since King John did pros- 
trate our Crown at Pandulfo, his legate's feet. 

The State of the Apostolic See here in Italy 
lieth betwixt two seas, the Adriatic and the Tyr- 
rhene, and it runs through the midst of Italy, 
which makes the Pope powerful to do good or 
harm, and more capable than any other to be an 
umpire or an enemy. His authority being mixed 
'twixt temporal and spiritual, disperseth itself into 
so many members, that a young man may grow 
old here before he can well understand the form 
of government. 

The consistory of Cardinals meet but once a 
week, and once a week they solemnly wait all 
upon the Pope. I am told there are now in Chris- 
tendom but sixty-eight cardinals, whereof there 
are six cardinal bishops, fifty-one cardinal priests, 
and eleven cardinal deacons. The cardinal bish- 
ops attend and sit near the Pope when he cele- 
brates any festival, the cardinal priests assist him 
at mass, and the cardinal deacons attire him. A 
cardinal is made by a short brief or writ from the 
Pope in these words " Creamus te Socium Regi- 
bus, superiorem Ducibus, et fratrem nostrum " 
(We create thee a companion to kings, superior 
to dukes, and our brother). If a cardinal bishop 
should be questioned for any offence, there must 
be twenty-four witnesses produced against him. 



96 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

The Bishop of Ostia hath most privilege of 
any other, for he consecrates and instals the Pope, 
and goes always next to him. All these cardinals 
have the repute of princes, and besides other in- 
comes they have the annats of benefices to sup- 
port their greatness. 

For point of power the Pope is able to put 
50,000 men in the field in case of necessity, be- 
sides his naval strength in galleys. We read how 
Paul the Third sent Charles the Fifth 12,000 foot 
and 500 horse. Pius the Fifth sent a greater aid 
to Charles the Ninth. And for riches, besides the 
temporal dominions, he hath in all the countries 
before named the datary or dispatching of Bulls, 
the triennial subsidies, annats, and other ecclesias- 
tic rights mount to an unknown sum ; and it is a 
common saying here that as long as the Pope can 
finger a pen he can want no pence. Pius the 
Fifth, notwithstanding his expenses in build- 
ings, left four millions in the castle of Saint 
Angelo, in less than five years, more I believe 
than this Gregory the Fifteenth will, for he hath 
many nephews ; and better it is to be the Pope's 
nephew than to be favourite to any prince in 
Christendom. 

Touching the temporal government of Rome, 
and Oppidan affairs, there is a pretor, and some 
choice citizens which sit in the capitol. Amongst 
other pieces of policy there is a synagogue of 
Jews permitted here (as in other places of Italy) 
under the Pope's nose, but they go with a mark 



OF JAMES HOWELL 97 

of distinction in their hats ; they are tolerated for 
advantage of commerce, wherein the Jews are 
wonderful dexterous, though most of them be 
only brokers and Lombardeers, and they are held 
to be here, as the cynic held women to be, malum 
necessarium. There be few of the Romans that 
use to pray heartily for the Pope's long life, in 
regard the oftener the change is, the more advan- 
tageous it is for the city, because commonly it 
brings strangers, and a recruit of new people. 
This air of Rome is not so wholesome as of old, 
and amongst other reasons one is, because of the 
burning of stubble to fatten their fields. For her 
antiquities it would take up a whole volume to 
write them. Those which I hold the chiefest are 
Vespasian's amphitheatre, where fourscore thou- 
sand people might sit ; the Stoves of Anthony ; 
divers rare statues at Belvedere and Saint Peter's, 
specially that of Laocoon, the Obelisk ; for the 
genius of the Roman hath always been much 
taken with imagery, limning, and sculptures, inso- 
much that as in former times, so now, I believe, 
the statues and pictures in Rome exceed the 
number of living people. One antiquity among 
others is very remarkable because of the change 
of language, which is an ancient column erected 
as a trophy for Duillius the Consul, after a famous 
naval victory obtained against the Carthaginians 
in the second Punic war, where these words are 
engraven and remain legible to this day : " Exe- 
met leco-ines Macistrates Castreis exfocient pug- 



98 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

nandod cepet enque navebos marid Consul," etc. 
And half a dozen lines after it is called Columna 
rostratay having the beaks and prows of ships en- 
graven up and down, whereby it appears that the 
Latin then spoken was much differing from that 
which was used in Cicero's time 150 years after. 
Since the dismembering of the empire Rome hath 
run through many vicissitudes and turns of for- 
tune, and had it not been for the residence of the 
Pope I believe she had become a heap of stones, 
a mount of rubbish by this time. And howsoever 
that she bears up indifferent well, yet one may 
say — 

Qui miseranda videt veteris vestigia Romae, 
Ille potest merito dicere Roma fuit. 

They who the ruins of first Rome behold. 
May say, Rome is not now, but was of old. 

Present Rome may be said to be but the monu- 
ment of Rome passed when she was in that flour- 
ish that Saint Austin desired to see her in. She 
who tamed the world tamed herself at last, and 
falling under her own weight fell to be a prey to 
time, yet there is a providence seems to have a 
care of her still ; for though her air be not so good, 
nor her circumjacent soil so kindly as it was, yet 
she hath wherewith to keep life and soul together 
still by her ecclesiastic courts, which is the sole 
cause of her peopling now. So that it may be said 
when the Pope came to be her head she was re- 
duced to her first principles ; for as a shepherd was 



OF JAMES HOWELL 99 

founder, so a shepherd is still her governor and 
preserver. But whereas the French have an old 
saying, that 

Jamais cheval ny homme, 
S'amenda pour aller a Rome. 

Ne'er horse or man did mend 
That unto Rome did wend. 

Truly I must confess that I find myself much 
bettered by it ; for the sight of some of these ruins 
did fill me with symptoms of mortification, and 
made me more sensible of the frailty of all sublu- 
nary things, how all bodies, as well inanimate as 
animate, are subject to dissolution and change, and 
everything else under the moon, except the love 
of your faithful servitor, 

J. H. 

Rome, September 13, 1621. 



XXXIX 

To Sir T. H,, Knight; from Naples 

I AM now in the gentle city of Naples, a city 
swelling with all delight, gallantry and wealth ; 
and truly, in my opinion, the King of Spain's 
greatness appears here more eminently than in 
Spain itself. This is a delicate luxurious city, 
fuller of true-bred cavaliers than any place I saw 
yet. The clime is hot, and the constitutions of 
the inhabitants more hot. 



lOO FAMILIAR LETTERS 

The Neapolitan is accounted the best courtier 
of ladies, and the greatest embracer of pleasure of 
any other people. They say there is no less here 
than twenty thousand courtesans registered in the 
office of Savelli. This kingdom with Calabria may 
be said to be the one moiety of Italy. It extends 
itself 450 miles and spreads in breadth 112; it 
contains 2700 towns, it hath 20 archbishops, 127 
bishops, 13 princes, 24 dukes, 25 marquises, and 
800 barons. There are three presidial castles in 
this city, and though the kingdom abounds in rich 
staple commodities as silks, cottons, and wine, and 
that there is a mighty revenue comes to the crown, 
yet the King of Spain when he casts up his ac- 
count at the year's end makes but little benefit 
thereof, for it is eaten up betwixt governors, gar- 
risons and officers. He is forced to maintain 4000 
Spanish foot, called the Tercia of Naples, in the 
castles he hath, 1600 in the perpetual garrison. 
He hath 1000 men of arms, 450 light horse; be- 
sides there are five footmen enrolled for every 
hundred fire. And he had need to do all this to 
keep this voluptuous people in awe, for the story 
musters up seven and twenty thousand famous 
rebellions of the Neapolitans in less than 300 
years ; but now they pay soundly for it, for one 
shall hear them groan up and down under the 
Spanish yoke. And commonly the King of Spain 
sends some of his grandees hither to repair their 
decayed fortunes, whence the saying sprung : That 
the Viceroy of Sicily gnaws, the Governor of 



OF JAMES HOWELL loi 

Milan eats, but the Viceroy of Naples devours. 
Our English merchants here bear a considerable 
trade, and their factors live in better equipage and 
in a more splendid manner, as in all Italy besides, 
than their masters and principals in London. 
They ruffle in silks and satins, and wear good 
Spanish leather shoes ; while their masters' shoes 
upon our Exchange in London shine with black- 
ing. At Puzzoli, not far off amongst the Grottes, 
there are so many strange stupendous things that 
nature herself seemed to have studied of purpose 
how to make herself there admired. I reserve the 
discoursing of them with the nature of the Taran- 
tola and Manna, which is gathered here and no- 
where else, with other things, till I see you, for 
they are fitter for discourses than a letter. I will 
conclude with a proverb they have in Italy of this 
people : 

Napolitano 

Largo di bocca, stretto di mano. 

The Neapolitans 

Have wide mouths, but narrow hands. 

They make strong, masculine promises, but fe- 
male performances (for deeds are men, but words 
are women), and if in a whole flood of compli- 
ments one find a drop of reality, it is well. The 
first acceptance of a courtesy is accounted the 
greatest incivility that can be amongst them and 
a ground for a quarrel, as I heard of a German 
gentleman that was baffled for accepting only one 
invitation to a dinner. — So desiring to be preserved 



I02 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

still in your good opinion and in the rank of 
your servants, I rest always fnost ready at your 
disposing, 

J. H. 
Naples, October the i, 1621. 

XL 

To Christopher Jones ^ Esquire^ at Gray's Inn ; 
from Naples 

Honoured Father, 

I MUST still style you so, since I was adopted 
your son by so good a mother as Oxford. My 
mind lately prompted me that I should commit a 
great solecism, if amongst the rest of my friends 
in England, I should leave you unsaluted, whom 
I love so dearly well, especially having such a fair 
and pregnant opportunity as the hand of this 
worthy gentleman, your cousin Morgan, who is 
now posting hence for England. He will tell you 
how it fares with me ; how any time these thirty 
odd months I have been tossed from shore to 
shore, and passed under various meridians, and 
am now in this voluptuous and luxuriant city of 
Naples. And though those frequent removes and 
tumblings under climes of different temperature 
were not without some danger, yet the delight 
which accompanied them was far greater; and it 
is impossible for any man to conceive the true 
pleasure of peregrination but he who actually en- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 103 

joys and puts it in practice. Believe it, sir, that 
one year well employed abroad by one of mature 
judgment (which you know I want very much) 
advantageth more in point of useful and solid 
knowledge than three in any of our Universities. 
You know running waters are the purest, so they 
that traverse the world up and down have the 
clearest understanding, being faithful eye-wit- 
nesses of those things which others receive but in 
trust, whereunto they must yield an intuitive con- 
sent and a kind of implicit faith. When I passed 
through some parts of Lombardy, amongst other 
things I observed the physiognomies and com- 
plexions of the people, men and women, and I 
thought I was in Wales, for divers of them have 
a cast of countenance and a nearer resemblance 
with our nation than any I ever saw yet. And 
the reason is obvious, for the Romans having 
been near upon three hundred years amongst us, 
where they had four legions (before the English 
nation or language had any being), by so long a 
coalition and tract of time the two nations must 
needs copulate and mix, insomuch that I believe 
there is yet remaining in Wales many of the 
Roman race, and divys in Italy of the British. 
Amongst other resemblances, one was in their 
prosody and vein of versifying or rhyming, which 
is like our bards, who hold agnominations and 
enforcing of consonant words or syllables, one 
upon the other, to be the greatest elegance, as for 
example, in Welsh, " Tewgris todyrris ty'r derrin, 



I04 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

gwillt," etc. So have I seen divers old rhymes in 
Italian running so : " Donne, O danno, che Felo 
affronto afFronta : In selva salvo a me; Piu caro 
cuore," etc. 

Being lately in Rome, amongst other pasquils I 
met with one that was against the Scot ; though it 
had some gall in it, yet it had a great deal of wit, 
especially towards the conclusion, so that I think 
if King James saw it he would but laugh at it. 

As I remember, some years since, there was a 
very abusive satire in verse brought to our king, 
and as the passages were a reading before him he 
often said, that if there were no more men in 
England the rogue should hang for it, at last 
being come to the conclusion, which was (after all 
his railing) : 

Now God preserve the King, the Queen, the peers. 
And grant the author long may wear his ears. 

This pleased His Majesty so well that he broke 
into a laughter, and said, " By my soul, so thou 
shalt for me ; thou art a bitter, but thou art a 
witty knave." 

When you write to Monmouthshire, I pray 
send my respects to my tutor. Master Moor For- 
tune, and my service to SiraCharles Williams ; and 
according to that relation which was betwixt us in 
Oxford, I rest, your constant son to serve you, 

J.H. 

Naples, 8 October 1621. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 105 

XLI 

To Sir y. C ; from Florence 

THIS letter comes to kiss your hands from 
fair Florence, a city so beautiful that the 
great Emperor (Charles the Fifth) said that she was 
fitting to be shown and seen only upon holidays. 
She marvellously flourisheth with buildings, with 
wealth and artisans ; for it is thought that in 
serges, which is but one commodity, there are made 
two millions every year. All degrees of people live 
here, not only well, but splendidly well, notwith- 
standing the manifold exactions of the duke upon 
all things. For none can buy here lands or houses 
but he must pay eight in the hundred to the duke ; 
none can hire or build a house but he must pay 
the tenth penny ; none can marry, or commence 
suit in law, but there 's a fee to the duke ; none can 
bring as much as an egg or sallet to the market 
but the duke hath share therein. Moreover, Leg- 
horn, which is the key of Tuscany, being a mari- 
time and a great mercantile town, hath mightily 
enriched this country by being a frank port to all 
comers, and a safe rendezvous to pirates as well as 
to merchants. Add hereunto that the Duke him- 
self in some respects is a merchant, for he some- 
times engrosseth all the corn of the country, and 
retails it at what rate he pleaseth. This enables 
the Duke to have perpetually 20,000 men en- 



io6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

rolled, trained up, and paid, and none but they can 
carry arms. He hath 400 light horse in constant 
pay, and 100 men at arms besides, and all these 
quartered in so narrow a compass that he can com- 
mand them all to Florence in twenty-four hours. 
He hath twelve galleys, two galleons, and six gal- 
leasses besides, and his galleys are called the black 
fleet, because they annoy the Turk more in the 
bottom of the Straits than any other. 

This state is bound to keep good quarter with 
the Pope more than others, for all Tuscany is 
fenced by Nature herself, I mean with mountains, 
except towards the territories of the Apostolic 
See and the sea itself; therefore it is called a coun- 
try of iron. 

The Duke's palace is so spacious that it occu- 
pieth the room of fifty houses at least ; yet, though 
his court surpasseth the bounds of a duke's, it 
reacheth not to the magnificence of a king's. The 
Pope was solicited to make the Grand Duke a king, 
and he answered that he was content he should be 
king in Tuscany, not of Tuscany; whereupon one 
of his counsellors replied that it was a more glori- 
ous thing to be a grand duke than a petty king. 

Among other cities which I desired to see in 
Italy, Genoa was one where I lately was, and found 
her to be the proudest for buildings of any I met 
withal, yet the people go the plainest of any other, 
and are also most parsimonious in their diet ; they 
are the subtlest, I will not say the most subdolous 
dealers ; they are wonderful wealthy, especially in 



OF JAMES HOWELL 107 

money. In the year 1 600, the King of Spain owed 
them eighteen millions, and they say it is double 
as much now. 

From the time they began to finger the Indian 
gold, and that this town hath been the scale by 
which he hath conveyed his treasure to Flanders 
since the wars in the Netherlands, for the support 
of his armies, and that she had got some privileges 
for the exportation of wools, and other commodi- 
ties (prohibited to others) out of Spain, she hath 
improved extremely in riches, and made Saint 
George's Mount swell higher than Saint Mark's 
in Venice. 

She hath been often ill-favouredly shaken by 
the Venetian, and hath had other enemies which 
have put her to hard shifts for her own defence, 
specially in the time of Louis the Eleventh of 
France, at which time, when she would have given 
herself up to him for protection. King Louis being 
told that Genoa was content to be his, he an- 
swered : " She should not be his long, for he would 
give her up to the devil and rid his hands of her." 

Indeed, the Genoese have not the fortune to be 
so well beloved as other people in Italy, which 
proceeds, I believe, from their cunningness and 
over-reachings in bargaining, wherein they have 
something of the Jew. The Duke is there but 
biennial, being changed every two years. He hath 
fifty Germans for his guard. There be four cen- 
turions that have two men apiece, which upon 
occasions attend the Signiory abroad in velvet 



io8 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

coats ; there be eight chief governors and four 
hundred counsellors, amongst whom there be fivt 
sovereign Syndics, who have authority to censure 
the duke himself, his time being expired, and 
punish any governor else, though after death, 
upon the heir. 

Amongst other customs they have in that town, 
one is, that none must carry a pointed knife about 
him, which makes the Hollander, who is used to 
"snik and snee," to leave his horn-sheath and 
knife a shipboard when he comes ashore. I met 
not with an Englishman in all the town, nor could 
I learn of any factor of ours that ever resided there. 

There is a notable little active republic towards 
the midst of Tuscany called Lucca, which, in re- 
gard she is under the Emperor's protection, he 
dares not meddle withal, though she lie as a par- 
tridge under a falcon's wings, in relation to the 
Grand Duke ; besides there is another reason 
of state why he meddles not with her, because 
she is more beneficial unto him now that she is 
free, and more industrious to support this freedom, 
than if she were become his vassal; for then it is 
probable she would grow more careless and idle, 
and so could not vent his commodities so soon 
which she buys for ready money, wherein most 
of her wealth consists. There is no state that 
winds the penny more nimbly and makes quicker 
returns. 

She hath a council called the Discoli, which prys 
into the profession and life of every one, and once 



OF JAMES HOWELL 109 

a year they rid the state of all vagabonds. So 
that this petty pretty republic may not be im- 
properly paralleled to a hive of bees, which have 
been always the emblems of industry and order. 

In this splendid city of Florence there be many 
rarities, which, if I should insert in this letter, it 
would make her swell too big ; and, indeed, they 
are fitter for parole communication. Here is the 
prime dialect of the Italian spoken, though the 
pronunciation be a little more guttural than that 
of Siena and that of the Court of Rome, which 
occasions the proverb : 

Lingua Tuscana in bocca Romana. 

The Tuscan tongue sounds best in a Roman mouth. 
The people here generally seem to be more 
generous and of a higher comportment than else- 
where, very cautious and circumspect in their 
negotiation, whence arises the proverb : 

Chi ha da far con Tosco, 
Non bisogna che sia Losco. 

Who dealeth with a Florentine, 
Must have the use of both his e'en. 

I shall bid Italy farewell now very shortly, and 
make my way over the Alps to France, and so 
home by God's grace, to take a review of my 
friends in England, amongst whom the sight of 
yourself will be as gladsome to me as of any other; 
for I profess myself, and purpose to be ever, your 
thrice affectionate servitor, J. H. 

Florence, i November 1621. 



no FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XLII 

To Capt, Francis Bacon ; from Turin 

1AM now upon point of shaking hands with 
Italy, for I am come to Turin, having already 
seen Venice the rich, Padua the learned, Bologna 
the fat, Rome the holy, Naples the gentle, Genoa 
the proud, Florence the fair, and Milan the great. 
From this last, I came hither, and in that city also 
appears the grandeur of Spain's monarchy very 
much. The governor of Milan is always captain- 
general of the cavalry to the King of Spain through- 
out Italy. The Duke of Feria is now governor ; 
and being brought to kiss his hands, he used me 
with extraordinary respect, as he doth all of our 
nation, being by the maternal side a Dormer. The 
Spaniard entertains there also 3000 foot, 1000 light 
horse, and 600 men at arms in perpetual pay ; so 
that I believe the benefit of that duchy also, though 
seated in the richest soil of Italy, hardly counter- 
vails the charge. Three things are admired in 
Milan, the Duomo or great church (built all of 
white marble within and without), the hospital, and 
the castle, by which the citadel of Antwerp was 
traced, and is the best-conditioned fortress of 
Christendom, though Nova Palma, a late fortress 
of the Venetians, would go beyond it, which is 
built according to the exact rules of the most 
modern engineering, being of a round form, 



OF JAMES HOWELL iii 

with nine bastions, and a street level to every 
bastion. 

The Duke of Savoy, though he pass for one 
of the princes of Italy, yet the least part of his 
territories lie there, being squandered up and down 
amongst the Alps, but as much as he hath in Italy, 
which is Piedmont, is a well-peopled and passing 
good country. 

The Duke of Savoy Emanuel is accounted to 
be of the ancientest and purest extraction of any 
prince in Europe, and his knights also of the 
Annunciate to be one of the ancientest orders. 
Though this present duke be little in stature, yet 
is he of a lofty spirit, and one of the best soldiers 
now living ; and though he be valiant enough, yet 
he knows how to patch the lion's skin with a fox's 
tail. And whosoever is Duke of Savoy had need 
be cunning, and more than any other prince, in 
regard that lying between two potent neighbours, 
the French and the Spaniard, he must comply 
with both. 

Before I wean myself from Italy, a word or two 
touching the genius of the nation. I find the Ital- 
ian a degree higher in compliment than the French ; 
he is longer and more grave in the delivery of it, 
and more prodigal of words, insomuch that if one 
were to be worded to death, Italian is the fittest 
language in regard of the fluency and softness of it; 
for throughout the whole body of it, you have not a 
word ends with a consonant, except some few mon- 
osyllables, conjunctions and prepositions, and this 



112 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

renders the speech more smooth, which made one 
say, " That when the confusion of tongues hap- 
pened at the building of the Tower of Babel, if the 
Italian had been there, Nimrod had made him a plas- 
terer." They are generally indulgent of themselves, 
and great embracers of pleasure, which may pro- 
ceed fromthe luscious rich wines and luxurious food, 
fruits, and roots, wherewith the country abounds. 
Insomuch, that in some places Nature may be said 
to be lena sui, a bawd to herself. The Cardinal de 
Medicis' rule is of much authority amongst them, 
"That there is no religion under the navel." And 
some of them are of the opinion of the Asians, 
who hold that touching those natural passions, 
desires, and motions, which run up and down in 
the blood, God Almighty and His handmaid Na- 
ture did not intend they should be a torment to us, 
but to be used with comfort and delight. To con- 
clude, in Italy there be"Virtutes magnae, nee mi- 
nora vitia " (great virtues and no less vices). 

So with a tender of my most affectionate respects 
unto you I rest, your humble servitor, J. H. 

Turin, 30 November. 

XLIII 

To Sir y. H. ; from Lyons 

I AM now got over the Alps and returned to 
France. I had crossed and clambered up the 
Pyrenees to Spain before; they are not so high and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 113 

hideous as the Alps, but for our mountains in 
Wales, as Eppint and Penwinmaur, which are so 
much cried up amongst us, they are molehills in 
comparison of these, they are but pigmies com- 
pared to giants, but blisters compared to impost- 
humes, or pimples to warts. Besides our mountains 
in Wales bear always something useful to man or 
beast, some grass at least ; but these uncouth huge 
monstrous excrescences of nature, bear nothing 
(most of them) but craggy stones. The tops of 
some of them are blanched over all the year long 
with snows, and the people who dwell in the 
valleys drinking for want of other this snow 
water, are subject to a strange swelling in the 
throat, called Goitre, which is common amongst 
them. 

As I scaled the Alps, my thoughts reflected upon 
Hannibal, who with vinegar and strong waters did 
eat out a passage through those hills, but of late 
years they have found a speedier way to do it by 
gunpowder. 

Being at Turin, I was by some disaster brought 
to an extreme low ebb in money, so that I was 
forced to foot it along with some pilgrims, and with 
gentle pace and easy journeys, to climb up those 
hills till I came to this town of Lyons, where a 
countryman of ours, one Mr Lewis, whom I knew 
in Alicante, lives factor, so that now I want not 
anything for my accommodation. 

This is a stately rich town, and a renowned mart 
for the silks of Italy and other Levantine com- 



114 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

modities, and a great bank for money, and indeed 
the greatest of France. Before this bank was 
founded, which was by Henry the First, France 
had but little gold and silver, insomuch that we 
read how King John, their captive king, could not 
in four years raise sixty thousand crowns to pay 
his ransom to our King Edward. And Saint Lewis 
was in the same case when he was prisoner in 
Egypt, where he had left the Sacrament for a gage. 
But after this bank was erected it filled France 
full of money. They of Luca, Florence, and 
Genoa, with the Venetian got quickly over the 
hills, and brought their moneys hither to get 
twelve in the hundred profit, which was the inter- 
est at first, though it be now much lower. 

In this great mercantile town there be two deep 
navigable rivers, the Rhone and the Saone. The 
one hath a swift rapid course ; the other slow and 
smooth. And one day as I walked upon their 
banks and observed so much difference in their 
course, I fell into a contemplation of the humours 
of the French and Spaniard, how they might be 
not improperly compared to these rivers, — the 
French to the swift, the Spaniard to the slow, 
river. 

I shall write you no more letters until I present 
myself unto you for a speaking letter, which I shall 
do as soon as I may tread London stones. — Your 
affectionate servitor, 

J. H. 

Lyons, 6 November 1621. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 115 

XLIV 

To Mr Thomas Bowyer; from Lyons 

BEING so near the Lake of Geneva curiosity 
would carry any one to see it. The inhabit- 
ants of that town, methinks, are made of another 
paste, differing from the affable nature of those 
people I had conversed withal formally. They have 
one policy, lest that their petty Republic should 
be pestered with fugitives. Their law is, that what 
stranger soever flies thither for sanctuary, he is 
punishable there, in the same degree, as in the 
country where he committed the offence. 

Geneva is governed by four syndics, and four 
hundred senators. She lies like a bone betwixt 
three mastiffs, the Emperor, the French King, and 
the Duke of Savoy. They all three look upon the 
bone, but neither of them dare touch it singly, for 
fear the other two would fly upon him. But they 
say the Savoyard hath the justest title, for there 
are Imperial records extant that although the 
Bishops of Geneva were Lords Spiritual and Tem- 
poral, yet they should acknowledge the Duke of 
Savoy for their superior. This man*s ancestors went 
frequently to the town, and the keys were presently 
tendered to him. But since Calvin's time, who 
had been once banished, and then called in again, 
which made him to apply that speech unto him- 
self, That the stone which the builders refused is 



ii6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

become the head-stone of the corner — I say, since 
they were refused by Calvin, they seem to shun 
and scorn all the world besides, being cast, as it 
were, into another mould, which hath quite altered 
their very natural disposition in point of moral 
society. 

Before I part with this famous city of Lyons I 
will relate unto you a wonderful strange accident 
that happened here not many years ago. There is 
an officer called Le Chevalier du Guet, which is a 
kind of night guard, here as well as in Paris, and 
his lieutenant, called Jaquette, having supped one 
night in a rich merchant's house, as he was pass- 
ing the round afterwards, he said, I wonder what 
I have eaten and drunk at the merchant's house, 
for I find myself so hot that if I met with the 
devil's dam to-night I should not forbear using 
of her. Hereupon, a little after, he overtook a 
young gentlewoman masked, whom he would 
needs usher to her lodging, but discharged all his 
watch except two. She brought him, to his think- 
ing, to a little low lodging hard by the city wall, 
where there were only two rooms. And after he 
had enjoyed her, he desired that, according to the 
custom of French gentlemen, his two comrades 
might partake also of the same pleasure. So she 
admitted them one after the other. And when all 
this was done, as they sat together, she told them 
if they knew well who she was, none of them 
would have ventured upon her. Thereupon she 
whistled three times and all vanished. The next 



OF JAMES HOWELL 117 

morning the two soldiers that had gone with 
Lieutenant Jaquette were found dead under the 
city wall amongst the ordure and excrements, and 
Jaquette himself a little way off half dead, who 
was taken up, and coming to himself again, con- 
fessed all this, but died presently after. 

The next week I am to go down the Loire 
towards Paris, and thence as soon as I can for 
England, where, amongst the rest of my friends, 
whom I so much long to see after this triennial 
separation, you are like to be one of my first ob- 
jects. In the meantime I wish the same happi- 
ness may attend you at home as I desire to attend 
me homewards, for I am, truly yours, 

J. H. 

Lyons, 5 December i6i\. 



EPISTOLiE HO-ELIANtE 
SECTION II 



SECTION II 



To my Father 

IT hath pleased God after almost three years* 
peregrination by land and sea, to bring me 
back safely to London ; but although I am come 
safely, I am come sickly; for when I landed in 
Venice, after so long a sea-voyage from Spain, I 
was afraid the same defluxion of salt rheum which 
fell from my temples into my throat in Oxford, 
and distilling upon the uvulla impeached my 
utterance a little to this day, had found the same 
channel again, which caused me to have an issue 
made in my left arm for the diversion of the hu- 
mour. I was well ever after till I came to Rouen, 
and there I fell sick of a pain in the head, which, 
with the issue, I have carried with me to England. 
Doctor Harvey, who is my physician, tells me that 
it may turn to a consumption, therefore he hath 
stopped the issue, telling me there is no danger 
at all in it, in regard I have not worn it a full 
twelvemonth. My Brother, I thank him, hath 
been very careful of me in this my sickness, and 
hath come often to visit me. I thank God I have 



122 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

passed the brunt of it, and am recovering, and 
picking up my crumbs apace. There is a flaunt- 
ing French Ambassador come over lately, and I 
believe his errand is nought else but compliment, 
for the King of France being lately at Calais, and 
so in sight of England, he sent his ambassador, 
Monsieur Cadenet, expressly to visit our king. He 
had audience two days since, where he with his 
train of ruffling long-haired monsieurs carried him- 
self in such a light garb, that after the audience, 
the king asked my Lord Keeper Bacon what he 
thought of the French Ambassador; he answered 
that he was a tall, proper man ; Aye, his Majesty 
replied, but what think you of his head-piece ? Is 
he a proper man for the office of an ambassador. 
" Sir," said Bacon, " tall men are like high houses 
of four or Rve story s, wherein commonly the up- 
permost room is worst furnished." 

So, desiring my brothers and sisters, with the 
rest of my cousins and friends in the country, 
may be acquainted with my safe return to Eng- 
land, and that you would please to let me hear 
from you by the next conveniency, I rest, your 
dutiful son, 

J.H. 

London, 2 February 1621. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 123 

II 

To Rich. Althamy Esq, ; at Norberry 

C^ALVEpars animae dimidiata meae. Hail, half 
k3 n^y soulj my dear Dick, etc. I was no sooner 
returned to the sweet bosom of England, and had 
breathed the smoke of this town, but my memory- 
ran suddenly on you, the idea of you hath almost 
ever since so filled up and engrossed my imagina- 
tion, that I can think on nothing else, the love of 
you swells both in my breast and brain with such 
a pregnancy that nothing can deliver me of this 
violent high passion but the sight of you. Let 
me despair if I lie, there was never female longed 
more after anything by reason of her growing em- 
bryon, than I do for your presence. Therefore, I 
pray you make haste to save my longing, and 
tantalise me no longer ('tis but three hours' rid- 
ing), for the sight of you will be more precious 
to me than any one object I have seen (and I have 
seen many rare ones) in all my three years' travel; 
and if you take this for a compliment (because I 
am newly come from France) you are much mis- 
taken in your 

J. H. 
London, i February 1621. 



124 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

III 

To D, Caldwally Esq,; at Battersea 

MY DEAR DAN, — I am come at last to 
London, but not without some danger, and 
through divers difficulties, for I fell sick in France, 
and came so over to Kent. And my journey from 
the seaside hither was more tedious to me than from 
Rome to Rouen, where I grew first indisposed ; 
and in good faith I cannot remember anything to 
this hour how I came from Gravesend hither, I 
was so stupefied, and had lost the knowledge of 
all things. But I am come to myself indiflTerently 
well since, I thank God for it, and you cannot im- 
agine how much the sight of you^ much more your 
society, would revive me ; your presence would be 
a cordial unto me more restorative than exalted 
gold, more precious than the powder of pearl, 
whereas your absence, if it continue long, will 
prove unto me like the dust of diamonds, which is 
incurable poison. I pray be not accessory to my 
death, but hasten to comfort your so long, weather- 
beaten friend. — Yours, 

J. H. 

London, February i, 1621. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 125 



IV 

To Sir James Crofts ; at the L, Darcfs in St 

Osith 

1AM got again safely to this side of the sea, and 
though I was in a very sickly case when I first 
arrived, yet thanks be to God I am upon point 
of perfect recovery, whereunto the sucking in of 
English air and the sight of some friends conduced 
not a little. 

There is fearful news come from Germany. You 
know how the Bohemians shook off the Emperor's 
yoke, and how the great Council of Prague fell 
to such a hurly-burly that some of the imperial 
counsellors were hurled out at the windows. You 
heard also, I doubt not, how they offered the 
crown to the Duke of Saxony, and he waiving it, 
they sent ambassadors to the Palsgrave, whom they 
thought might prove par negotioy and to be able to 
go through-stitch with the work, in regard of his 
powerful alliance, the King of Great Britain being 
his father-in-law, the King of Denmark, the Prince 
of Orange, the Marquis of Brandenburg, the Duke 
Bouillon, his uncles, the States of Holland his con- 
federates, the French king his friend, and the Duke 
of Bavaria his near ally. The Prince Palsgrave 
made some difficulty at first, and most of his 
counsellors opposed it ; others incited him to it. 



126 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

and amongst other hortatives they told him that 
if he had the courage to venture upon a King of 
England's sole daughter he might very well venture 
upon a sovereign crown when it was tendered him. 
Add hereunto that the States of Holland did mainly 
advance the work, and there was good reason in 
policy for it ; for their twelve years' truce being 
then upon point of expiring with Spain, and find- 
ing our king so wedded to peace that nothing 
could divorce him from it, they alighted upon this 
design to make him draw his sword, and engage 
him against the house of Austria for the defence 
of his sole daughter and his grandchildren. What 
His Majesty will do hereafter I will not presume 
to foretell, but hitherto he hath given little coun- 
tenance to the business, nay, he utterly misliked it 
first. For whereas Doctor Hall gave the Prince 
Palsgrave the title of King of Bohemia in his pul- 
pit prayer, he had a check for his pains, for I heard 
His Majesty should say that there is an implicit tie 
amongst kings which obligeth them, though there 
be no other interest or particular engagement to 
stick unto, and right one another upon insurrection 
of subjects. Therefore he had more reason to be 
against the Bohemians than to adhere to them in 
the deposition of their sovereign prince. The King 
of Denmark sings the same note, nor will he also 
allow him the appellation of king. But the fear- 
ful news I told you of at the beginning of this 
letter is that there are fresh tidings brought how 
the Prince Palsgrave had a well-appointed army 



OF JAMES HOWELL 127 

of about 25,000 horse and foot near Prague, but 
the Duke of Bavaria came with scarce half the 
number, and notwithstanding his long march gave 
them a sudden battle and utterly routed them, 
insomuch that the new King of Bohemia, having 
not worn the crown a whole twelvemonth, was 
forced to fly with his queen and children, and after 
many difficulties they write that they are come to 
the castle of Castrein, the Duke of Brandenburg's 
country, his uncle. This news affects both court 
and city here with much heaviness. 

I send you my humble thanks for the noble cor- 
respondence you pleased to hold with me abroad, 
and I desire to know by the next when you come 
to London, that I may have the comfort of the 
sight of you after so long an absence. — Your true 
servitor, J. H. 

March the i, 1621. 

V 

To Dr Fr. Manse//; at A//-Sou/s in Oxford 

I AM returned safe from my foreign employ- 
ment, from my three years' travel. I did my 
best to make what advantage I could of the time, 
though not so much as I should ; for I find that 
peregrination (well used) is a very profitable 
school ; it is a running academy, and nothing 
conduceth more to the building up and perfect- 
ing of a man. Your honourable uncle. Sir Robert 



128 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

Mansell, who is now in the Mediterranean, hath 
been very notable to me, and I shall ever 
acknowledge a good part of my education from 
him. He hath melted vast sums of money in the 
glass business, a business indeed more proper for 
a merchant than a courtier. I heard the king 
should say that he wondered Robin Mansell, be- 
ing a seaman, whereby he hath got so much hon- 
our, should fall from water to tamper with fire, 
which are two contrary elements. My father fears 
that this glass employment will be too brittle a 
foundation for me to build a fortune upon, and 
Sir Robert being now at my coming back so far 
at sea, and his return uncertain, my father hath 
advised me to hearken after some other condi- 
tion. I attempted to go secretary to Sir John 
Ayres to Constantinople, but I came too late. 
You have got yourself a great deal of good 
repute by the voluntary resignation you made of 
the principality of Jesus College to Sir Eubule 
Thelwall in hope that he will be a considerable 
benefactor to it. I pray God he perform what he 
promiseth, and that he be not overpartial to 
North Wales men. Now that I give you the first 
summons, I pray you make me happy with your 
correspondence by letters. There is no excuse or 
impediment at all left now, for you are sure where 
to find me, whereas I was a landloper, as the 
Dutchman saith, a wanderer and subject to uncer- 
tain removes, and short sojourns in divers places 
before. So with appreciation of all happiness to 



OF JAMES HOWELL 129 

you here and hereafter, I rest, at your friendly 
dispose, 

J.H. 
March 5, 161 8. 



VI 

Ti9 Sir Eubule Thelwall^ Knight ^ and Principal 
of Jesus College in Oxford 

I SEND you most due and humble thanks, that, 
notwithstanding I have played the truant and 
been absent so long from Oxford, you have been 
pleased lately to make choice of me to be Fel- 
low of your new Foundation in Jesus College, 
whereof I was once a member. As the quality of 
my fortunes and course of life run now, I cannot 
make present use of this your great favour, or pro- 
motion rather, yet I do highly value it and humbly 
accept of it, and intend, by your permission, to re- 
serve and lay it by as a good warm garment against 
rough weather if any fall on me. With this my 
expression of thankfulness, I do congratulate the 
great honour you have purchased both by your 
own beneficence and by your painful endeavour 
besides, to perfect that National College, which 
hereafter is like to be a monument of your fame 
as well as a seminary of learning and will perpetu- 
ate your memory to all posterity. 

God Almighty prosper and perfect your under- 
takings, and provide for you in heaven those re- 



I30 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

wards which such public works of piety use to be 
crowned withal ; it is the appreciation of, your truly 
devoted servitor, J. H. 

hondoriy i£lfus March 1621. 

VII 

To my Father 

ACCORDING to the advice you sent me in 
your last, while I sought after a new course 
of employment, a new employment hath lately 
sought after me ; my Lord Savage hath two young 
gentlemen to his sons, and I am to go travel with 
them. Sir James Crofts (who so much respects 
you) was the main agent in this business, and I am 
to go shortly to Long Melford in Suffolk and 
thence to Saint Osith in Essex to the Lord Darcy. 
Queen Anne is lately dead of a dropsy in Den- 
mark House, which is held to be one of the fatal 
events that followed the last fearful comet that rose 
in the tail of the constellation of Virgo, which some 
ignorant astronomers that write of it, would fix in 
the heavens, and that as far above the orb of the 
moon as the moon is from the earth. But this is 
nothing in comparison of those hideous fires that 
are kindled in Germany blown first by the Bohe- 
mians, which is like to be a war without end, for 
the whole House of Austria is interested in the 
quarrel, and it is not the custom of that house to 
sit by any affront or forget it quickly. Queen 



OF JAMES HOWELL 131 

Anne left a world of brave jewels behind ; but one, 
Pieroj an outlandish man who had the keeping of 
them, embezzled many and is run away. She left 
all she had to Prince Charles, whom she ever loved 
best of all her children, nor do I hear of any legacy 
she left at all to her 4aughter in Germany ; for that 
match, some say, lessened something of her affec- 
tion towards her ever since, so that she would often 
call her Goody Palsgrave, nor could she abide Sec- 
retary Winwood ever after, who was one of the chief- 
est instruments to bring that match about, as also 
for the rendition of the cautionary towns in the Low 
Countries, Flushing and Brill, with the Ramma- 
kins. I was lately with Sir John Walter and others 
of your counsel about law business, and some of 
them told me that Master J. Lloyd, your adversary, 
is one of the shrewdest solicitors in all the thir- 
teen shires of Wales, being so habituated to law 
suits and wrangling, that he knows any of the least 
starting holes in every court. I could wish you had 
made a fair end with him, for besides the cumber 
and trouble, specially to those that dwell at such a 
huge distance from Westminster Hall as you do. 
Law is a shrewd pickpurse, and the lawyer, as I 
heard one say wittily not long since, is like a Christ- 
mas-box which is sure to get whosoever loseth. 

So with the continuance of my due and daily 
prayers for your health, with my love to my 
brothers and sisters, I rest, your dutiful son, 

J. H. 

March 20, 161 8. 



132 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

VIII 

To Dan Caldwall, Esq, ; from the Lord Sav- 
age's House in Long Melford 

My dear D., 

THOUGH considering my former condition 
of life I may now be called a country man, 
yet you cannot call me a rustic (as you would im- 
ply in your letter) as long as I live in so civil and 
noble a family, as long as I lodge in so virtuous 
and regular a house as any I believe in the land, 
both for economical government and the choice 
company, for I never saw yet such a dainty race 
of children in all my life together, I never saw yet 
such an orderly and punctual attendance of ser- 
vants, nor a great house so neatly kept ; here one 
shall see no dog, nor a cat, nor cage to cause any 
nastiness within the body of the house. The 
kitchen and gutters and other offices of noise 
and drudgery are at the fag-end, there 's a back- 
gate for beggars and the meaner sort of swains to 
come in at. The stables butt upon the park, which 
for a cheerful rising ground, for groves and brows- 
ings for the deer, for rivulets of water, may com- 
pare with any, for it shines in the whole land ; it 
is opposite to the front of the great house, whence 
from the gallery one may see much of the game 
when they are a hunting. Now for the gardening 
and costly choice flowers, for ponds, for stately 



OF JAMES HOWELL 133 

large walks, green and gravelly, for orchards and 
choice fruits of all sorts, there are few the like in 
England : here you have your Bon Christian pear 
and Bergamot in perfection, your Muscadel grapes, 
in such plenty that there are some bottles of wine 
sent every year to the king ; and one, Mr Daniel, 
a worthy gentleman hard by, who hath been long 
abroad, makes good store in his vintage. Truly this 
house of Long-Melford, tfiough it be not so great, 
yet it is so well compacted and contrived, with such 
dainty conveniences every way, that if you saw 
the landscape of it, you would be mightily taken 
with it, and it would serve for a choice pattern to 
build and contrive a house by. If you come this 
summer to your manor of Sheriff in Essex, you 
will not be far off hence ; if your occasions will 
permit, it will be worth your coming hither, 
though it be only to see him, who would think it 
a short journey to go from Saint David's Head 
to Dover Cliffs to see and serve you, were there 
occasion. — If you would know who the same is, 
't is — Yours 

J. H. 
20 March 1619. 



134 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

IX 

To Robert Brown, Esquire 

THANKS, for one curtesie is a good usher 
to bring on another. Therefore it is my 
policy at this time to thank you most heartily for 
your late copious letter to draw on a second. 1 
say I thank you a thousand times over for yours 
of the third of this present, which abounded with 
such variety of news, and ample well-couched re- 
lations, that I made many friends by it ; yet I am 
sorry for the quality of some of your news, that 
Sir Robert Mansell, being now in the Mediter- 
ranean with a considerable naval strength of ours 
against the Moors, to do the Spaniard a pleasure. 
Marquis Spinola should, in a hogling way, change 
his master for the time, and, taking commission 
from the Emperor, become his servant for invad- 
ing the Palatinate with the forces of the King of 
Spain in the Netherlands. I am sorry also the 
princes of the union should be so stupid as to 
suffer him to take Oppenheim by a Parthian kind 
of back stratagem, in appearing before the town 
and making semblance afterwards to go for 
Worms, and then perceiving the forces of the 
United Princes to go for succouring of that, to 
turn back and take the town he intended first, 
whereby I fear he will be quickly master of the 
rest. Surely I believe there may be some treach- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 135 

ery in it, and that the Marquis of Ansback, the 
general, was overcome by pistols made of Indian 
ingots, rather than of steel, else an army of 
40,000, which he had under his command, might 
have made its party good against Spinola's, less 
than 20,000, though never such choice veterans, 
but what will not gold do ? It will make a pigmy 
too hard for a giant : there 's no fence or fortress 
against an ass laden with gold. It was the saying 
you know of his father, whom partial and ig- 
norant antiquity cries up to have conquered the 
world, and that he sighed there were no more 
worlds to conquer, though he had never one of 
the three old parts of the then known world en- 
tirely to himself. I desire to know what is be- 
come of that handful of men His Majestic sent 
to Germany under Sir Horace Vere, which he was 
bound to do, as he is one of the Protestant 
princes of the union, and what 's become of Sir 
Arthur Chichester, who is gone Ambassador to 
those parts. 

Dear Sir, I pray make me happy still with your 
letters ; it is a mighty pleasure for us country 
folks to hear how matters pass in London and 
abroad. You know I have not the opportunity to 
correspond with you in like kind, but may happily 
hereafter when the tables are turned, when I am 
in London and you in the west. Whereas you are 
desirous to hear how it fares with me, I pray know 
that I live in one of the noblest houses and best 
air of England. There is a dainty park adjoining. 



136 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

where I often wander up and down, and I have 
my several walks. I make one to represent the 
Royal Exchange, the other the middle aisle of 
Paul's, another Westminster Hall; and when I 
pass through the herd of deer methinks I am in 
Cheapside. So with a full return of the same 
measure of love, as you pleased to send me, I 
rest yours, 

J. H. 

24 May 1 622. 

1 

X 

TCo R. Althaniy Esquire ; from Saint Osith 

LIFE itself is not so dear unto me as your 
friendship, nor virtue in her best colours as 
precious as your love, which was lately so lively 
pourtrayed unto me in yours of the 5th of this 
present. Methinks your letter was like a piece of 
tissue richly embroidered with rare flowers up and 
down, with curious representations and landscapes. 
Albeit I have as much stuff as you of this kind 
(I mean matter of love), yet I want such a loom 
to work it upon I cannot draw it to such a curious 
web. Therefore you must be content with homely 
polldavie ware from me, for you must not expect 
from us country folk such urbanities and quaint 
invention that you, who are daily conversant with 
the wits of the court, and of the Inns of Court, 
abound withal. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 137 

Touching your Intention to travel beyond the 
seas the next spring, and the Intimation you make 
how happy you would be In my company, I let 
you know that I am glad of the one, and much 
thank you for the other, and will think upon It, 
but I cannot resolve yet upon anything. I am 
now here at the Earl Rivers, a noble and great 
knowing lord, who hath seen much of the world 
abroad. My Lady Savage, his daughter. Is also 
here with divers of her children. I hope this 
Hilary term to be merry in London, and amongst 
others to re-enjoy your conversation principally, 
for I esteem the society of no soul upon earth 
more than yours. Till then I bid you farewell, 
and as the season invites me I wish you a merry 
Christmas, resting yours while 

Jam. Howell. 

December 20, 1621. 

XI 

To Captain Thomas Porter upon his return 
from Algiers Voyage 

Noble Captain, 

I CONGRATULATE your safe return from 
the Straits, but am sorry you were so straitened 
in your commission that you could not attempt 
what such a brave naval power of twenty men-of- 
war, such a gallant general and other choice know- 
ing commanders might have performed If they 



138 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

had had line enough. I know the lightness and 
nimbleness of Algiers ships ; when I lived lately in 
Alicante and other places upon the Mediterranean, 
we would every week hear some of them chased, 
but very seldom taken ; for a great ship following 
one of them may be said to be as a mastiff dog 
running after a hare. I wonder the Spaniard came 
short of the promised supply for furtherance of 
that notable adventurous design you had to fire 
the ships and galleys in Algiers road. And accord- 
ing to the relation you pleased to send me it was 
one of the bravest enterprises and had proved such 
a glorious exploit that no story could have paral- 
leled ; but it seems their hoggies, magicians and 
maribots were tampering with the ill spirit of the 
air all the while, which brought down such a still 
cataract of rain waters suddenly upon you to hinder 
the working of your fireworks. Such a disaster, 
the story tells us, befell Charles the Emperor, but 
far worse than yours, for he lost ships and multi- 
tudes of men, who were made slaves, but you came 
off with loss of eight men only, and Algiers is 
anothergets thing now than she was then, being, 
I believe, a hundred degrees stronger by land and 
sea, and for the latter strength we may thank our 
countryman Ward, and Danskey the butterbag 
Hollander, which may be said to have been two 
of the fatalest and most infamous men that ever 
Christendom bred ; for the one taking all English- 
men, and the other all Dutchmen, and bringing 
the ships and ordnance to Algiers, they may be 



OF JAMES HOWELL 139 

said to have been the chief raisers of those pica- 
roons to be pirates, which are now come to that 
height of strength that they daily endamage and 
affront all Christendom. When I consider all the 
circumstances and success of this your voyage; 
when I consider the narrowness of your com- 
mission, which was as lame as the Clerk that 
kept it; when I find that you secured the seas 
and traffic all the while, for I did not hear of one 
ship taken while you were abroad; when I hear 
how you brought back all the fleet without the 
least disgrace or damage by foe or foul weather 
to any ship, I conclude, and so do far better judg- 
ments than mine, that you did what possibly could 
be done. Let those that repine at the one in the 
hundred (which was imposed upon all the Le- 
vant merchants for the support of this fleet) 
mutter what they will, that you went first to 
Gravesend, then to the Land's End, and after to 
no end. 

I have sent you for your welcome home (in 
part) two barrels of Colchester oysters which were 
provided for my Lord of Colchester himself, there- 
fore I presume they are good and all green finned. 
I shall shortly follow, but not to stay long in 
England, for I think I must over again speedily 
to push on my fortunes. So, my dear Tom, I am 
de todas mis entranaSy from the centre of my heart 
I am, yours, ^ tt 

St Osith, December 1622. 



I40 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XII 

To my Father upon my second going to Travel 

I AM lately returned to London, having been 
all this while in a very noble family in the 
country where I found far greater respects than I 
deserved. I was to go with two of my Lord Sav- 
age's sons to travel, but finding myself too young 
for such a charge, and our religion differing, I have 
made choice to go over comrade to a very worthy 
gentleman. Baron Altham*s son, whom I knew in 
Staines, when my brother was there. Truly I hold 
him to be one of the hopefulest young men of this 
kingdom for parts and person ; he is full of ex- 
cellent solid knowledge, as the mathematics, the 
law, and other material studies ; besides I should 
have been tied to have stayed three years abroad 
in the other employment at least ; but I hope to go 
back from this by God's grace before a twelve- 
month be at an end, at which time I hope the hand 
of Providence will settle me in some stable home- 
fortune. 

The news is that the Prince Palsgrave, with his 
lady and children, are come to the Hague in Hol- 
land, having made a long progress or rather a pil- 
grimage about Germany from Prague. The old 
Duke of Bavaria, his uncle, is chosen elector and 
arch-sewer of the Roman Empire in his place (but 
as they say in an imperfect diet), and with this 



OF JAMES HOWELL 141 

proviso, that the transferring of this election upon 
the Bavarian shall not prejudice the next heir. 
There is one Count Mansfelt that begins to get a 
great name in Germany, and he with the Duke of 
Brunswick, who is a temporal Bishop of Halver- 
stadt, have a considerable army on foot for the 
Lady Elizabeth, which in the Low Countries and 
some parts of Germany is called the Queen of 
Bohemia, and for her winning, princely comport- 
ment, the Queen of Hearts. Sir Arthur Chichester 
is come back from the Palatinate, much complain- 
ing of the small army that was sent thither under 
Sir Horace Vere, which should have been greater, 
or none at all. 

My Lord of Buckingham, having been long 
since Master of the Horse at Court, is now made 
master also of all the wooden horses of the king- 
dom, which indeed are our best horses, for he is to 
be High Admiral of England, so he is become 
dominus equorum et aquarum. The late Lord Trea- 
surer Cranfield grows also very powerful, but the 
city hates him for having betrayed their greatest 
secrets, which he was capable to know more than 
another, having been formerly a merchant. 

I think I shall have no opportunity to write to 
you again till I be the other side of the sea ; there- 
fore I humbly take my leave, and ask your bless- 
ing, that I may the better prosper in my proceed- 
ings. So I am, your dutiful son, , ^ 

March 19, 1622. 



142 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XIII 

To Sir John Smith, Knight 

THE first ground I set foot upon after this 
my second trans-marine voyage was Trevere 
(the Scots staple) in Zealand, thence we sailed to 
Holland, in which passage we might see divers 
steeples and turrets under water, of towns that, as 
we were told, were swallowed up by a deluge 
within the memory of man. We went afterwards 
to the Hague, where there are hard by, though in 
several places, two wonderful things to be seen — 
the one of art the other of nature. That of art is 
a waggon or ship, or a monster mixed of both, 
like the hippocentaur, who was half man and half 
horse. This engine hath wheels and sails, that 
will hold above twenty people, and goes with the 
wind, being drawn or moved by nothing else, and 
will run, the wind being good and the sails 
hoisted up, above fifteen miles an hour upon the 
even hard sands. They say this invention was 
found out to entertain Spinola when he came 
hither to treat of the last truce. That wonder of 
nature is a church monument, where an earl and 
a lady are engraven with 365 children about them, 
which were all delivered at one birth ; they were 
half male, half female ; the basin hangs in the 
church which carried them to be christened, and 
the bishop's name who did it ; and the story of 



OF JAMES HOWELL 143 

this miracle, with the year and the day of the 
month mentioned, which is not yet 200 years 
ago ; and the story is this : That countess walk- 
ing about her door after dinner, there came a 
beggar-woman with two children upon her back 
to beg alms ; the countess asking whether those 
children were her own, she answered she had 
them both at one birth, and by one father, who 
was her husband. The countess would not only 
not give her any alms, but reviled her bitterly, 
saying it was impossible for one man to get two 
children at once. The beggar-woman being thus 
provoked with ill words, and without alms, fell to 
imprecations, that it should please God to show 
His judgment upon her, and that she might bear 
at one birth as many children as there be days in 
the year, which she did before the same year's 
end, having never borne child before. We are now 
in North Holland, where I never saw so many, 
among so few, sick of leprosy ; and the reason is, 
because they commonly eat abundance of fresh 
fish. A gentleman told me that the women of 
this country when they are delivered, there comes 
out of the womb a living creature besides the 
child, called zucchie, likest a bat of any other 
creature, which the midwives throw into the fire, 
holding sheets before the chimney lest it should 
fly away. Master Altham desires his service be 
presented to you and your lady, to Sir John 
Franklin and all at the Hill, the like do I 
humbly crave at your hands. The Italian and 



144 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

French manuscripts you pleased to favour me 
withal, I left at Mr SciFs the stationer, whence if 
you have them not already, you may please to 
send for them. So in all affection I kiss your 
hands and am your humble servitor. 

J. H. 
Trevere, lo of April y 1623. 

XIV 

To the Right Honourable, the Lord Viscount 
Colchester, after Karl Rivers 

Right Honourable, 

THE commands your lordship pleased to Im- 
pose upon me when I left England, and those 
high favours wherein I stand bound to your lord- 
ship, call upon me at this time to send your 
lordship some small fruits of my foreign travel. 
Marquis Spinola is returned from the Palatinate, 
where he was so fortunate, that (like Caesar) he came, 
saw, and overcame, notwithstanding that huge army 
of the Princes of the Union, consisting of 40,000 
men, whereas his was under twenty, but made up 
of old tough blades and veteran commanders. 
He hath now changed his coat, and taken up his 
old commission again from Don Philippo, where- 
as during that expedition, he called himself Caesar's 
servant. I hear the Emperor hath transmitted the 
upper Palatinate to the Duke of Bavaria, as cau- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 145 

tion for those moneys he hath expended in those 
wars. And the King of Spain is the Emperor's com- 
missary for the lower Palatinate. They both pre- 
tend that they were bound to obey the imperial 
summons to assist Caesar in these wars ; the one 
as he was Duke of Burgundy, the other of Ba- 
varia, both which countries are feudatory to the 
empire, else they had incurred the imperial ban. 
It is feared this German war will be as the French- 
man saith, de longue haleine, long breathed, for there 
are great powers on both sides, and they say the 
King of Denmark is arming. 

Having made a leisurely sojourn in this town, 
I had spare hours to couch in writing a survey of 
these countries which I have now traversed the 
second time, but in regard it would be a great bulk 
for a letter, I send it your lordship apart, and when 
I return to England, I shall be bold to attend your 
lordship for correction of my faults. In the in- 
terim I rest, my lord, your thrice humble servitor, 

J.H. 

Antwerp, May i, 1623. 

XV 
A Surrey of the Seventeen Provinces 

My Lord, 

TO attempt a precise description of each of 
the seventeen provinces, and of its progres- 
sion, privileges and primitive government, were 



146 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

a task of no less confusion than labour. Let it 
suffice to know that since Flanders and Holland 
were erected to earldoms, and so left to be an 
appendix of the Crown of France, some of them 
have had absolute and supreme governors, some 
subaltern and subject to a superior power. 
Amongst the rest the Earls of Flanders and Hol- 
land were most considerable ; but of them two he 
of Holland being homageable to none, and hav-. 
ing Friesland and Zealand added, was the more 
potent. In process of time all the seventeen met 
in one; some by conquest, others by donation and 
legacy, but most by alliance. In the House of 
Burgundy this union received most growth, but 
in the House of Austria it came to its full per- 
fection ; for in Charles the Fifth they all met as 
so many lines drawn from the circumference to 
the centre, who lording as supreme head not only 
over the fifteen temporal, but the two spiritual, 
Liege and Utrecht, had a design to reduce them 
to a kingdom, which his son Philip the Second 
attempted after him, but they could not bring 
their intents home to their aim, the cause is im- 
puted to that multiplicity and difference of privi- 
leges which they are so eager to maintain, and 
whereof some cannot stand with a monarchy with- 
out incongruity. Philip the Second at his inau- 
guration was sworn to observe them, and at his 
departure he obliged himself by an oath, to send 
still one of his own blood to govern them. 
Moreover, at the request of the Knights of the 



OF JAMES HOWELL 147 

Golden Fleece, he promised that all foreign 
soldiers should retire, and that he himself would 
come to visit them once every seventh year, but 
being once gone, and leaving in lieu of a sword 
a distaff, an unwieldy woman, to govern, he came 
not only short of his promise, but procured a dis- 
pensation from the Pope to be absolved of his 
oath, and all this by the counsel of the Cardinal 
Granvill, who, as the States Chronicler writes, was 
the first firebrand that kindled that lamentable 
and longsome war wherein the Netherlands have 
traded above fifty years in blood. For intending 
to increase the number of bishops, to establish the 
decrees of the Council of Trent, and to clip the 
power of the Council of State composed of the 
natives of the land, by making it appealable to 
the Council of Spain, and by adding to the former 
oath of allegiance (all which conduced to settle 
the Inquisition, and to curb the conscience), the 
broils began ; to appease which ambassadors were 
dispatched to Spain, whereof the two first came to 
violent deaths, the one being beheaded, the other 
poisoned. But the two last, Egmont and Horn, 
were nourished still with hopes, until Philip the 
Second had prepared an army under the conduct 
of the Duke of Alva to compose the difference 
by arms. For as soon as he came to the govern- 
ment he established the Bloet-rad^ as the com- 
plainants termed it, a council of blood, made 
up most of Spaniards. Egmont and Horn were 
apprehended and afterwards beheaded. Citadels 



148 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

were erected, and the oath of allegiance with the 
political government of the country in divers 
things altered. This poured oil on the fire 
formerly kindled, and put all in combustion. 
The Prince of Orange retires, thereupon his eld- 
est son was surprised and sent as hostage to 
Spain, and above 5000 families quit the country, 
many towns revolted but were afterwards reduced 
to obedience ; which made the Duke of Alva say, 
that the Netherlands appertained to the King of 
Spain not only by descent but conquest, and for 
cumble of his victories when he attempted to 
impose the tenth penny for maintenance of the 
garrisons in the citadels he had erected at Grave, 
Utrecht, and Antwerp (where he caused his 
statue, made of cannon brass, to be erected, 
trampling the Belgians under his feet), all the 
towns withstood this imposition, so that at last, 
matters succeeding ill with him, and having had 
his cousin, Pacecio, hanged at Flushing Gates, 
after he had traced out the platform of a citadel 
in that town also, he received letters of revocation 
from Spain. Him succeeded Don Luys de Re- 
quiluis, who came short of his predecessor in ex- 
ploits, and dying suddenly in the field, the 
government was invested for the time in the 
Council of State. The Spanish soldiers, being 
without a head, gathered together to the number 
of 1600, and committed such outrages up and 
down, that they were proclaimed enemies to the 
state. Hereupon, the pacification of Ghent was 



OF JAMES HOWELL 149 

transacted, whereof, amongst other articles one 
was, that all foreign soldiers should quit the 
country ; this was ratified by the King, and ob- 
served by Don John of Austria, who succeeded 
in the government; yet Don John retained the 
landskneghts at his devotion still for some secret 
design, and, as some conjectured, for the invasion 
of England, he kept the Spaniards also still 
hovering about the frontiers ready upon all occa- 
sion. Certain letters were intercepted that made 
a discovery of some projects which made the war 
to bleed afresh. Don John was proclaimed en- 
emy to the state ; so the Archduke Matthias was 
sent for, who, being a man of small importance 
and improper for the times, was dismissed, but 
upon honourable terms. Don John, a little after, 
dies, and, as some gave out, of the pox ; then 
comes in the Duke of Parma, a man as of a 
different nation, being an Italian, so of a different 
temper and more moderate spirit and of greater 
performance than all the rest, for, whereas all the 
provinces except Luxemburg and Hainault had 
revolted, he reduced Ghent, Tourney, Bruges, 
Malines, Brussels, Antwerp (which three last he 
beleaguered at one time), and divers other great 
towns to the Spanish obedience again ; he had 
60,000 men in pay, and the choicest which Spain 
and Italy could afford. The French and English 
ambassadors, interceding for a peace, had a short 
answer of Philip the Second, who said that he 
needed not the help of any to reconcile himself 



I50 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

to his own subjects and reduce them to conform- 
ity, but the difference that was he would refer to 
his cousin the Emperor. Hereupon, the business 
was agitated at Cologne, where the Spaniard stood 
as high a-tiptoe as ever, and notwithstanding the 
vast expense of treasure and blood he had been 
at for so many years, and that matters began to 
exasperate more and more which were like to 
prolong the wars in infinitum, he would abate no- 
thing in point of ecclesiastical government. Here- 
upon, the States perceived that King Philip could 
not be wrought either by the solicitations of other 
princes or their own supplications so often reit- 
erated, that they might enjoy the freedom of 
religion with other enfranchisements, and finding 
him inexorable, being incited also by that ban 
which was published against the Prince of 
Orange, that whosoever killed him should have 
5000 crowns, they at last absolutely renounced 
and abjured the King of Spain for their sov- 
ereign ; they broke his seals, changed the oath of 
allegiance, and fled to France for shelter. They 
inaugurated the Duke of Anjou (recommended 
unto them by the Queen of England, to whom he 
was a suitor) for their prince, who attempted to 
render himself absolute and so thought to sur- 
prise Antwerp, where he receiv9d an ill-favoured 
repulse; yet nevertheless the United Provinces, 
for so they termed themselves ever after, fearing 
to distaste their next great neighbour France, 
made a second proffer of their protection and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 151 

sovereignty to that king, who having too many 
irons in the fire at his own home, the League 
growing stronger, and stronger, he answered them 
that his shirt was nearer to him than his doublet. 
Then had they recourse to Queen Elizabeth, who, 
partly for her own security, partly for interest in 
religion, reached them a supporting hand and so 
sent them men, money, and a governor, the Earl 
of Leicester, who not symboHsing with their 
humour was quickly revoked, yet without any 
outward dislike on the Queen's side, for she left 
her forces still with them, but upon their expense. 
She lent them afterwards some considerable sums 
of money and she received Flushing and the Brill 
for caution. Ever since the English have been the 
best sinews of their war and achievers of the great- 
est exploits amongst them. Having thus made sure 
work with the English, they made young Count 
Maurice their governor, who for twenty-five years 
together held task with the Spaniard, and during 
those traverses of war was very fortunate; an over- 
ture of peace was then propounded, which the States 
would not hearken unto singly, with the King of 
Spain, unless the Provinces that yet remained under 
him would engage themselves for performance of 
what was articled ; besides they would not treat 
either of peace or truce, unless they were declared 
Free States, all which was granted. So by the in- 
tervention of the English and French ambassadors, 
a truce was concluded for twelve years. 

These wars did so drain and discommodate the 



152 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

King of Spain by reason of his distance (every 
soldier that he sent either from Spain or Italy 
costing him near upon a hundred crowns before 
he could be rendered in Flanders), that notwith- 
standing his mines of Mexico and Peru, it 
plunged him so deeply in debt, that having taken 
up moneys in all the chief banks of Christendom, 
he was forced to publish a diploma wherein he 
dispensed with himself (as the Holland story hath 
it) from payment alleging that he had employed 
those moneys for the public peace of Christen- 
dom. This broke many great bankers, and they 
say his credit was not current in Seville or Lisbon, 
his own towns ; and which was worse, while he 
stood wrestling thus with his own subjects, the 
Turk took his opportunity to get from him 
Tunis and the Goletta, the trophies of Charles 
the Fifth, his father. So eager he was in this 
quarrel, that he employed the utmost of his 
strength and industry to reduce this people to his 
will, in regard he had an intent to make these 
provinces his main rendezvous and magazine of 
men-of-war, which his neighbours perceiving, and 
that he had a kind of aim to be Western mon- 
arch, being led not so much for love as reasons 
of state, they stuck close to the revolted pro- 
vinces, and this was the bone that Secretary 
Walsingham told Queen Elizabeth he would cast 
the King of Spain that should last him twenty 
years, and perhaps make his teeth shake in his head. 
But to return to my first discourse whence this 



OF JAMES HOWELL 153 

digression has snatched me. The Netherlands, who 
had been formerly knit and concentred under one 
sovereign prince, were thus dismembered ; and as 
they subsist now, they are a state and a province. 
The province having ten of the seventeen, at least, 
is far greater, more populous, better soiled, and 
more stored with gentry. The state is richer and 
stronger, the one proceeding from their vast navi- 
gation and commerce, the other from the quality 
of their country, being defensible by rivers and 
sluices, by means whereof they can suddenly over- 
whelm all the whole country, witness that stupen- 
dous siege of Ley den and Haarlem, for most of 
their towns, the marks being taken away, are inac- 
cessible by reason of shelves of sands. Touching 
the transaction of these provinces which the King of 
Spain made as a dowry to the Archduke Albertus, 
upon marriage with the Infanta (who thereupon left 
his red hat and Toledo mitre, the chiefest spiritual 
dignity in Christendom for revenue after the Pap- 
acy), it was fringed with such cautelous restraints, 
that he was sure to keep the better end of the staff 
still to himself, for he was to have the tutelage and 
ward of his children ; that they were to marry with 
one of the Austrian family recommended by Spain, 
and in default of issue, and in case Albertus should 
survive the Infanta, he should be but governor 
only. Add hereunto that King Philip reserved still 
to himself all the citadels and castles, with the Order 
of the Golden Fleece, whereof he is Master, as he 
is Duke of Burgundy. 



154 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

The Archduke for the time hath a very princely 
command. All coins bear his stamp, all placards or 
edicts are published in his name, he hath the elec- 
tion of all civil officers and magistrates. He nomi- 
nates also bishops and abbots, for the Pope hath 
only the confirmation of them here, nor can he ad- 
journ any out of the country to answer anything, 
neither are his Bulls of any strength without the 
Prince's placet, which makes him have always some 
commissioners to execute his authority. The people 
here grow hotter and hotter in the Roman cause 
by reason of the mixture with Spaniards and Ital- 
ians, as also by the example of the Archduke and 
the Infanta, who are devout in an intense degree. 
There are two supreme councils, the Privy Coun- 
cil and that of the State ; this treats of confederations 
and intelligence with foreign princes, of peace and 
war, of entertaining or of dismissing colonels and 
captains, of fortifications, and they have the super- 
intendency of the highest affairs that concern the 
Prince and the policy of the provinces. The pri- 
mate hath the granting of all patents and bequests, 
the publishing of all edicts and proclamations, the 
prizing of coin, the looking to the confines and ex- 
tent of the provinces, and the enacting of all new 
ordinances. Of these two councils there is never 
a Spaniard, but in the actual Council of War their 
voices are predominant. There is also a Court of 
Finance or Exchequer, whence all they that have 
the fingering of the King's money must draw a 
discharge. Touching matters of justice, their law is 



OF JAMES HOWELL 155 

mixed between civil and common, with some clauses 
of canonical. The High Court of Parliament is 
at Malines, whither all civil causes may be brought 
by appeal from other towns, except some that have 
municipal privileges, and are sovereign in their own 
jurisdictions, as Mons in Hainault,and a few more. 
The prime province for dignity is Brabant, 
which, amongst many other privileges it enjoyeth, 
hath this for one, not to appear upon any summons 
out of its own precinct, which is one of the reasons 
why the Prince makes his residence there : but 
the prime for extent and fame is Flanders, the 
chiefest earldom in Christendom, which is three 
days' journey in length ; Ghent, its metropolis, is 
reputed the greatest town of Europe, whence arose 
the proverb, " Les flamene tient un Gan, qui 
tiendra Paris dedans." But the beautifulest, rich- 
est, strongest, and most privileged city is Antwerp 
in Brabant, being the marquisate of the Holy 
Empire, and drawing near to the nature of a Hans- 
Town, for she pays the Prince no other tax but 
the impost. Before the dissociation of the seven- 
teen provinces, this town was one of the greatest 
marts of Europe, and greatest bank this side the 
Alps, most princes having their factors here to 
take up or let out moneys, and here our Gresham 
got all his wealth, and built our Royal Exchange 
by model of that here. The merchandise brought 
hither from Germany, France, and Italy by land, 
and from England, Spain, and the Hans-Towns 
by sea, was estimated at above twenty millions of 



156 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

crowns every year; but as no violent thing is 
long lasting, and as it is fatal to all kingdoms, states, 
towns, and languages to have their period, so this 
renowned mart hath suffered a shrewd eclipse, yet 
no utter downfall, the exchange of the King of 
Spain^s money and some small land traffic keeping 
still life in her, though nothing so full of vigour 
as it was. Therefore, there is no town under the 
Archduke where the States have more concealed 
friends than in Antwerp, who would willingly 
make them her masters in hope to recover her 
former commerce, which, after the last twelve 
years* truce, began to revive a little, the States 
permitting to pass by Lillo's sconce, which com- 
mands the river of Scheld, and lyeth in the teeth 
of the town, some small cross-sailed ships to pass 
hither. There is no place hath been more passive 
than this, and more often pillaged ; amongst other 
times she was once plundered most miserably by 
the Spaniards under the conduct of a priest, im- 
mediately upon Don John of Austria's death ; she 
had then her Stadt-House burned, which had cost 
a few years before above twenty thousand crowns 
the building, and the spoils that were carried away 
thence amounted to forty tuns of gold. Thus she 
was reduced not only to poverty but a kind of cap- 
tivity, being commanded by a citadel, which she 
preferred before a garrison ; this made the mer- 
chants retire and seek a more free rendezvous, some 
in Zealand, some in Holland, specially in Amster- 
dam, which rose upon the fall of this town, as Lis- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 157 

bon did from Venice upon the discovery of the 
Cape of Good Hope, though Venice be not near 
so much crestfallen. 

I will now steer my discourse to the United 
Provinces, as they term themselves, which are six 
in number, viz., Holland, Zealand, Friesland, 
Overyssel, Groningen, and Utrecht, three parts 
of Gelderland, and some frontier towns and places 
of contribution in Brabant and Flanders. In all 
these there is no innovation at all introduced, 
notwithstanding this great change in point of 
government, except that the College of States 
represents the duke or earl in times passed ; 
which college consists of the chiefest gentry of 
the country, superintendents of towns, and the 
principal magistrates. Every province and great 
town chooses yearly certain deputies, to whom 
they give plenary power to deliberate with the 
other states of all affairs touching the public 
welfare of the whole province, and what they vote 
stands for law. These being assembled, consult of 
all matters of state, justice and war ; the advocate 
who is prime in the assembly propounds the 
business, and after collects the suffrages, first of 
the provinces, then of the towrts, which being put 
in form, he delivers in pregnant and moving 
speeches ; and in case there be a dissonance and 
reluctancy of opinions, he labours to accord and 
reconcile them ; concluding always with the major 
voices. 

Touching the administration of justice, the 



158 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

President, who is monthly changed, with the great 
council, have the supreme judicature, from whose 
decrees there *s no appeal, but a revision ; and 
then some of the choicest lawyers amongst them 
are appointed. 

For their Oppidan government they have vari- 
ety of offices, a Scout, Burgomasters, a Bailie, and 
Vroetschoppens. The Scout is chosen by the 
States, who with the bailies have the judging of all 
criminal matters in last resort without appeal, 
they have also the determining of civil causes, but 
those are appealable to the Hague. Touching 
their chiefest governor (or general rather now), 
having made proof of the Spaniard, German, 
French, and English, and agreeing with none of 
them, they lighted at last upon a man of their 
own mould. Prince Maurice, now their general, 
in whom concurred divers parts suitable to such 
a charge, having been trained up in the wars by his 
father, who, with three of his uncles and divers 
of his kindred, sacrificed their lives in the States* 
quarrel ; he hath thriven well since he came to 
the government ; he cleared Friesland, Overyssel, 
and Groningen in less than eighteen months. He 
hath now continued their governor and general 
by sea and land above thirty-three years ; he hath 
the election of magistrates, the pardoning of 
malefactors, and divers other prerogatives, yet 
they are short of the reach of sovereignty, and of 
the authority of the ancient Counts of Holland, 
though I cannot say it is a mercenary employ- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 159 

merit, yet he hath a limited allowance, nor hath 
he any implicit command when he goes to the 
field, for either the council of war marcheth with 
him, or else he receives daily directions from 
them. Moreover, the States themselves reserve 
the power of nominating all commanders in the 
army, which, being of sundry nations, deprive him 
of those advantages he might have to make him- 
self absolute. Martial discipline is nowhere so 
regular as amongst the States ; nowhere are there 
lesser insolences committed upon the burgher, 
nor robberies upon the country boors, nor are the 
officers permitted to insult over the common sol- 
dier. When the army marcheth, not one dares 
take so much as an apple off a tree, or a root out 
of the earth, in their passage ; and the reason is, 
that they are punctually paid their pay, else I be- 
lieve they would be insolent enough, and were not 
the pay so certain, I think few or none would 
serve them. They speak of sixty thousand they 
have in perpetual pay by land and sea, at home 
and in the Indies. The King of France was used 
to maintain a regiment, but since Henry the 
Great's death the payment hath been neglected. 
The means they have to maintain these forces, to 
pay their governor, to discharge all other expense, 
as the preservation of their dikes which comes to 
a vast expense yearly, is the ancient revenue of 
the Counts of Holland, the impropriate church- 
livings, imposts upon all merchandise, which is 
greater upon exported than imported goods, 



i6o FAMILIAR LETTERS 

excise upon all commodities, as well for necessity 
as pleasure, taxes upon every acre of ground, 
which is such that the whole country returns into 
their hands every three years. Add hereunto the 
art they use in their bank by the rise and fall of 
money, the fishing upon our coasts ; whither they 
send every autumn above 700 hulks or busses, 
which, in the voyages they make, return above 
a million in herrings; moreover their fishing for 
green fish and salmon amounts to so much more ; 
and for their cheese and butter it is thought they 
vend as much every year as Lisbon doth spices. 
This keeps the common treasury always full, that 
upon any extraordinary service or design there 
is seldom any new tax upon the people. Traffic is 
their general profession, being all either mer- 
chants or mariners, and, having no land to 
manure, they furrow the sea for their living ; and 
this universality of trade, and their banks of ad- 
ventures, distributes the wealth so equally, that 
few amongst them are exceeding rich or exceed- 
ing poor. Gentry amongst them are very thin, 
and, as in all democracies, little respected, and, 
coming to dwell in towns, they soon mingle with 
the merchant, and so degenerate. Their soil, 
being all betwixt marsh and meadow, is so fat in 
pasturage that one cow will give eight quarts of 
milk a day, so that, as a boor told me, in four 
little dorps near Harlem it is thought there is as 
much milk milked in the year as there is Rhenish 
wine brought to Dort, which is the sole staple of 



OF JAMES HOWELL i6i 

it. Their towns are beautiful and neatly built, and 
with uniformity, that who sees one sees all. In 
some places, as in Amsterdam, the foundation 
costs more than the superstructure, for, the 
ground being soft, they are constrained to ram in 
huge stakes of timber (with wool about it to pre- 
serve it from putrefaction) till they come to a firm 
basis ; so that, as one said, whosoever could see 
Amsterdam under ground should see a huge 
winter forest. 

Amongst all the confederate provinces Holland 
is most predominant, which, being but six hours' 
journey in breadth, contains nine-and-forty walled 
towns, and all these within a day's journey one of 
another. Amsterdam for the present is one of the 
greatest mercantile towns in Europe. To her is ap- 
propriated the East and West Indies trade, whither 
she sends yearly forty great ships, with another 
*fleet to the Baltic Sea, but they send not near so 
many to the Mediterranean as England. Other 
towns are passably rich and stored with shipping, 
but not one very poor, which proceeds from the 
wholesome policy they use, to assign every town 
some firm staple commodity, as to (their maiden 
town) Dort the German wines and corn, to Mid- 
dleburg the French and Spanish wines, to Trevere 
(the Prince of Orange's town) the Scots trade. 
Leyden, in recompense of her long siege, was 
erected to an university, which, with Franiker in 
Friesland, is all they have ; Harlem for knitting and 
weaving hath some privilege ; Rotterdam hath the 



i62 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

English cloth, and this renders their towns so equal- 
ly rich and populous. They allow free harbour to 
all nations with liberty of religion (the Roman only 
excepted), as far as the Jew who hath two syna- 
gogues allowed him, but only in Amsterdam, which 
piece of policy they borrow of the Venetian, with 
whom they have very intimate intelligence ; only 
the Jews in Venice, in Rome and other places go 
with some outward mark of distinction, but here 
they wear none ; and these two republics, that in 
the east and this in the west, are the two remoras 
that stick to the great vessel of Spain, that it can- 
not sail to the Western monarchy. 

I have been long in the survey of these pro- 
vinces, yet not long enough, for much more might 
be said which is fitter for a story than a survey. 
I will conclude with a mot or two of the people, 
whereof some have been renowned in times past 
for feats of war. Amongst the States, the Hol- 
lander or Batavian hath been most known, for some 
of the Roman emperors have had a selected guard 
of them about their persons for their fidelity and 
valour, as now the King of France hath of the 
Swiss. The Frisians also have been famous for 
those large privileges wherewith Charlemagne en- 
dowed them. The Flemings also have been illus- 
trious for the martial exploits they achieved in the 
East, where two of the Earls of Flanders were 
crowned emperors. They have all a genius inclined 
to commerce, very inventive and witty in manu- 
factures, witness the art of printing, painting, and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 163 

colouring in glass ; those curious quadrants, chimes 
and dials ; those kind of waggons which are used 
up and down Christendom were first used by them ; 
and for the mariner's compass, though the matter 
be disputable betwixt the Neapolitan, the Portugal, 
and them, yet there is a strong argument on their 
side in regard they were the first that subdivided 
the four cardinal winds to two and thirty, others 
naming them in their language. 

There is no part of Europe so haunted with all 
sorts of foreigners as the Netherlands, which makes 
the inhabitants, as well women as men, so well 
versed in all sorts of languages, so that in Exchange 
time one may hear seven or eight sorts of tongues 
spoken upon their bourses. Nor are the men only 
expert herein, but the women and maids also in 
their common hostelries, and in Holland the wives 
are so well versed in bargaining, ciphering and 
writing, that in the absence of their husbands in 
long sea voyages they beat the trade at home, and 
their words will pass in equal credit. These women 
are wonderfully sober, though their husbands make 
commonly their bargains in drink, and then are 
they most cautelous. This confluence of strangers 
makes them very populous, which was the cause 
that Charles the Emperor said that all the Nether- 
lands seemed to him but as one continued town. 
He and his grandfather Maximilian, notwithstand- 
ing the choice of kingdoms they had, kept their 
courts most frequently in them, which showed how 
highly they esteemed them, and 1 believe if Philip 



i64 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

the Second had visited them sometimes matters 
had not gone so ill. 

There is no part of the earth, considering the 
small circuit of country, which is estimated to be 
but as big as the fifth part of Italy, where one 
may find more differing customs, tempers, and 
humours of people than in the Netherlands. The 
Walloon is quick and sprightful, accostable and 
full of compliment, and gaudy in apparel, like 
his next neighbour the French ; the Fleming and 
Brabanter somewhat more slow and sparing of 
speech ; the Hollander slower than he, more surly 
and respectless of gentry and strangers, homely 
in his clothing, of very few words, and heavy in 
action, which may be well imputed to the quality 
of the soil, which works so strongly upon the 
humours that when people of a more vivacious 
and nimble temper come to mingle with them, 
their children are observed to partake rather of 
the soil than the sire. And so it is in all animals 
besides. 

Thus I have huddled up some observations of 
the Low Countries, beseeching your lordship 
would be pleased to pardon the imperfections and 
correct the errors of them, for I know none so 
capable to do it as your lordship, to whom I am 
a most humble and ready servitor, j^ j^^ 

Antwerp, i May 1622. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 165 



XVI 

To my Brother^ Mr Hugh Penry^ upon his 
Marriage 

YOU have had a good while the interest of 
a friend in me, but you have me now in 
a straighter tie, for I am your brother by your 
late marriage, which hath turned friendship into 
an alh'ance. You have in your arms one of my 
dearest sisters, who I hope, nay I know, will make 
a good wife. I heartily congratulate this marriage, 
and pray that a blessing may descend upon it from 
that place where all marriages are made, which is 
from heaven, the fountain of all felicity. To this 
prayer I think it no profaneness to add the saying 
of the lyric poet Horace, in whom I know you de- 
light much, and I send it you as a kind of epitha- 
lamium, and wish it may be verified in you both: 

Faelices ter et amplius 

Quos irrupta tenet copula, nee malis 
Divulsus querimoniis 

Suprema citius solvet amor die. 

Thus Englished : 

That couple *s more than trebly blest 
Which nuptial bonds do so combine. 

That no distaste can them untwine 
Till the last day send both to rest. 

So, dear brother, I much rejoice for this alliance, 



i66 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

and wish you may increase and multiply to your 
heart's content. — Your affectionate brother, 

J. H. 
May the 20, 1622. 



XVII 

Ti? my Brother y Dr Howell; from Brussels 

I HAD yours in Latin at Rotterdam, whence 
r corresponded with you in the same language. 
I heard, though not from you, since I came to 
Brussels, that our sister Anne is lately married to 
Mr Hugh Penry. I am heartily glad of it, and 
wish the rest of our sisters were so well bestowed, 
for I know Mr Penry to be a gentleman of a great 
deal of solid worth and integrity, and one that 
will prove a great husband and a good economist. 
Here is news that Mansfelt hath received a 
foil lately in Germany, and that the Duke of 
Brunswick, alias Bishop of Halverstadt, hath lost 
one of his arms. This makes them vapour here 
extremely, and the last week I heard of a play the 
Jesuits of Antwerp made, in derogation, or rather 
derision, of the proceedings of the Prince Palsgrave, 
where, amongst divers other passages, they feigned 
a post to come puffing upon the stage, and being 
asked what news, he answered how the Palsgrave 
was like to have shortly a huge formidable army, 
for the King of Denmark was to send him a hun- 
dred thousand, the Hollanders a hundred thou- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 167 

sand, and the King of Great Britain a hundred 
thousand ; but being asked thousands of what ? 
he replied the first would send a hundred thousand 
red herrings, the second a hundred thousand 
cheeses, and the last a hundred thousand ambas- 
sadors, alluding to Sir Richard Weston and Sir 
Edward Conway, my Lord Carlisle, Sir Arthur 
Chichester, and lastly, the Lord Digby, who have 
been all employed in quality of ambassadors in 
less than two years — since the beginning of these 
German broils. Touching the last, having been 
with the Emperor and the Duke of Bavaria, and 
carried himself with such high wisdom in his nego- 
tiations with the one and stoutness with the other, 
and having preserved Count Mansfelt's troops 
from disbanding, by pawning his own argentry 
and jewels, he passed this way, where they say 
the Archduke did esteem him more than any am- 
bassador that ever was in this court, and the report 
is yet very fresh of his high abilities. 

We are to remove hence in coach towards Paris 
the next week, where we intend to winter, or hard 
by. When you have opportunity to write to 
Wales, I pray present my duty to my father, and 
my love to the rest. I pray remember me also 
to all at the Hill and the Dale, especially to that 
most virtuous gentleman. Sir John Franklin. So, 
my dear brother, I pray God continue and im- 
prove His blessings to us both, and bring us again 
together with comfort. — Your brother, J. H. 

June 10, 1622. 



i68 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XVIII 

To Dr Tho. Prichardy at Worcester House 

FRIENDSHIP is the great chain of human 
society, and intercourse of letters is one of 
the chiefest links of that chain. You know this as 
well as I, therefore I pray let our friendship, let 
our love, that nationality of British love, that vir- 
tuous tie of academic love, be still strengthened (as 
heretofore), and receive daily more and more 
vigour. I am now in Paris, and there is weekly 
opportunity to receive and send; and if you please 
to send, you shall be sure to receive, for I make 
it a kind of religion to be punctual in this kind of 
payment. I am heartily glad to hear that you are 
become a domestic member to that most noble 
family of the Worcesters, and I hold it to be a 
very good foundation for future preferment; I 
wish you may be as happy in them, as I know 
they will be happy in you. France is now barren 
of news, only there was a shrewd brush lately be- 
twixt the young king and his mother, who, having 
the Duke of Epernon and others for her com- 
panions, met him in open field about Pont de Ce, 
but she went away with the worst ; such was the 
rare dutifulness of the king, that he forgave her 
upon his knees, and pardoned all her complices. 
And now there is an universal peace in this coun- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 169 

try, which it is thought will not last long, for 
there is a war intended against them of the re- 
formed religion; for this king, though he be slow 
in speech, yet is he active in spirit, and loves 
motion. I am here comrade to a gallant young 
gentleman, my old acquaintance, who is full of 
excellent parts, which he hath acquired by a choice 
breeding, the baron his father gave him both in 
the University and in the Inns of Court, so that 
for the time I envy no man's happiness. So, with 
my hearty commends, and much endeared love 
unto you, I rest yours whiles. 

Jam. Howell. 

Paris, 3 August 1622, 



XIX 

To the Honourable Sir Tho. Savage [after Lord 
Savage^, at his house upon Tower Hill 

THOSE many undeserved favours for which 
I stand obliged to yourself and my noble lady, 
since the time I had the happiness to come first 
under your roof, and the command you pleased to 
lay upon me at my departure thence, call upon me 
at this time to give you account how matters pass 
in France. 

That which for the present affords most plenty 
of news is Rochelle, which the King threateneth 
to block up this spring with an army by sea. 



I70 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

under the command of the Duke of Nevers, and 
by a land army under his own conduct : both sides 
prepare, he to assault, the Rochellers to defend. 
The King declares that he proceeds not against 
them for their religion, which he is still contented 
to tolerate, but for holding an assembly against his 
declarations. They answer, that their assembly is 
grounded upon His Majesty's royal warrant, given 
at the dissolution of the last assembly at Lodun, 
where he solemnly gave his word to permit them 
to reassemble when they would six months after, 
if the breaches of their liberty and grievances which 
they then propounded were not redressed ; and 
they say this being unperformed, it stands not with 
the sacred person of a king to violate his promise, 
being the first that ever he made them. The King 
is so incensed against them that their deputies can 
have neither access to his person nor audience of 
his council, as they style themselves the deputies 
of the assembly at Rochelle ; but if they say they 
come from the whole body of them of the pretended 
reformed religion he wilt hear them. The breach 
between them is grown so wide that the King re- 
solves upon a siege. This resolution of the King's 
is much fomented by the Roman clergy, specially 
by the Celestines, who have 200,000 crowns of 
gold in the Arsenal of Paris which they would 
sacrifice all to this service ; besides the Pope sent 
him a bull to levy what sums he would of the Gal- 
lican Church for the advancement of his design. 
This resolution also is much pushed on by thiegen- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 171 

try, who, besides the particular employments and 
pay they shall receive hereby, are glad to have their 
young king trained up in arms to make him a mar- 
tial man. But for the merchant and poor peasant, 
they tremble at the name of this war, fearing their 
teeth should be set on edge with those sour grapes 
their fathers tasted in the time of the League, for 
if the King begin with Rochelle it is feared all 
the four corners of the kingdom will be set on fire. 
Of all the towns of surety which they of the 
religion hold, Rochelle is the chiefest; a place 
strong by nature but stronger by art. It is a mar- 
itime town, and landward they can by sluices 
drown a league's distance ; it is fortified with 
mighty thick walls, bastions and counterscarps, 
and those according to the modern rules of en- 
ginry. This amongst other cautionary towns 
was granted by Henry the Fourth to them of the 
religion for a certain term of years, which being 
expired the King saith they are devolved again to 
the Crown and so demands them. They of the 
religion pretend to have divers grievances ; first, 
they have not been paid these two years the 
160,000 crowns which the last king gave them 
annually to maintain their ministers and garri- 
sons; they complain of the King's carriage lately 
at Beam (Henry the Great's country), which was 
merely Protestant, where he hath introduced two 
years since the public exercise of the mass, which 
had not been sung there fifty years before. He 
altered also there the government of the country, 



172 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

and in lieu of a viceroy left a governor only ; and 
whereas Navarrin was formerly a Court of Parlia- 
ment for the whole kingdom of Navaar (that *s 
under France), he hath put it down and pub- 
lished an edict that the Navarrois should come 
to Toulouse the chief town of Languedoc ; and 
lastly, he left behind him a garrison in the said 
town of Navarrin. These and other grievances 
they of the religion proposed to the King lately, 
desiring His Majesty would let them enjoy still 
those privileges his predecessor, Henry the 
Third, and his father, Henry the Fourth, afforded 
them by Act of Pacification. But he made them 
a short answer : That what the one did in this 
point, he did it out of fear ; what the other did, 
he did it out of love ; but he would have them 
know that he neither loved them nor feared 
them ; so the business is like to bleed sore on 
both sides ; nor is there yet any appearance of 
prevention. 

There was a scufHe lately here betwixt the 
Duke of Nevers and the Cardinal of Guise, who 
have had a long suit-in-law about an abbey, and, 
meeting the last week about the palace,' from 
words they fell to blows ; the Cardinal struck the 
Duke first and so were parted ; but in the after- 
noon there appeared on both sides no less than 
3000 horse in a field hard by, which shows the 
populousness and sudden strength of this huge 
city ; but the matter was taken up by the King, 
himself, and the Cardinal clapped up in the 



OF JAMES HOWELL 173 

Bastile, where the King saith he shall abide to 
ripen ; for he is but young, and they speak of a 
bull that is to come from Rome to decardinalize 
him. I fear to have trespassed too much upon 
your patience, therefore I will conclude for the 
present, but will never cease to profess myself 
your thrice humble and ready servitor, 

J. H. 
Paris, August 18, 1622. 

XX 

To D. Caldwally Esq. ; from Poissy 

My Dear D., 

TO be free from English, and to have the 
more conveniency to fall close to our busi- 
ness, Mr Altham and I are lately retired from 
Paris to this town of Poissy, a pretty genteel 
place at the foot of the great forest of Saint 
Germain upon the river Sequana, and within a 
mile of one of the King's chiefest standing 
houses, and about fifteen miles from Paris. Here 
is one of the prime nunneries of all France. 
Lewis the Ninth, who in the catalogue of the 
French kings is called St Lewis, which title was 
confirmed by the Pope, was baptised in this little 
town, and after his return from Egypt and other 
places against the Saracens, being asked by what 
title he would be distinguished from the rest of 
his predecessors after his death, he answered that 



174 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

he desired to be called Lewis of Poissy ; reply 
being made that there were divers other places 
and cities of renown, where he had performed 
brave exploits, and obtained famous victories, 
therefore it was more fitting that some of those 
places should denominate him. " No,*' said he, 
" I desire to be called Louis of Poissy, because 
there I got the most glorious victory that ever I 
had, for there I overcame the devil," meaning 
that he was christened there. 

I sent you from Antwerp a silver Dutch table- 
book. I desire to hear of the receipt of it in your 
next. I must desire you (as I did once at Rouen) 
to send me a dozen pair of the whitest kidskin 
gloves for women, and half a dozen pair of 
knives, by the merchant's post ; and if you want 
anything that France can afford, I hope you 
know what power you have to dispose of. 
Yours, J. H. 

Poissy, September 7, 1622. 

XXI 

To my Father ; from Paris 

1WAS afraid I should never have had ability to 
write to you again, I had lately such a danger- 
ous fit of sickness ; but I have now passed the 
brunt of it. God hath been pleased to reprieve 
me and reserve me for more days, which I hope 
to have grace to number better. Mr Altham and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 175 

I having retired to a small town from Paris for 
more privacy and sole conversation with the na- 
tion, I tied myself to a task for the reading of so 
many books in such a compass of time, and there- 
upon to make good my word to myself, I used 
to watch many nights together, though it was in 
the depth of winter; but returning to this town, 
I took cold in the head, and so that mass of 
rheum which had gathered by my former watch- 
ing, turned to an imposthume in my head, where- 
of I was sick above forty days ; at the end they 
cauterised and made an issue in my cheek to 
make vent for the imposthume, and that saved 
my life. At first they let me blood, and I parted 
with above fifty ounces in less than a fortnight, 
for phlebotomy is so much practised here, that if 
one's little finger ache, they presently open a vein, 
and so balance the blood on both sides ; they 
usually let the blood in both arms. And the 
commonness of the thing seems to take away all 
fear, insomuch that the very women, when they 
find themselves indisposed, will open a vein them- 
selves ; for they hold that the blood which hath a 
circulation and fetcheth a round every twenty-four 
hours about the body is quickly repaired again. I 
was eighteen days and nights that I had no sleep 
but short Imperfect slumbers, and those, too, pro- 
cured by potions. The tumour at last came so 
about my throat, that I had scarce vent left for 
respiration, and my body was brought so low with 
all sorts of physic, that I appeared like a mere 



176 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

skeleton. When I was indifferently well recov- 
ered, some of the doctors and chirurgeons that 
tended me gave me a visit, and amongst other 
things they fell in discourse of wines which was 
the best, and so by degrees they fell upon other 
beverages. And one doctor in the company who 
had been in England, told me that we have a 
drink in England called ale, which he thought 
was the wholsomest liquor that could go into 
one's guts, for whereas the body of man is 
supported by two columns, viz. the natural heat 
and radical moisture, he said, there is no drink 
conduceth more to the preservation of the one 
and the increase of the other than ale, for while 
the Englishmen drank only ale, they were strong 
brawny able men, and could draw an arrow an ell 
long ; but when they fell to wine and beer, they 
are found to be much impaired in their strength 
and age. So the ale bore away the bell among 
the doctors. 

The next week we advance our course farther 
into France towards the river of Loire to Orleans, 
whence I shall continue to convey my duty to you. 
In the meantime I humbly crave your blessing and 
your acknowledgment to God Almighty for my 
recovery. Be pleased further to impart my love 
amongst my brothers and sisters with all my kins- 
men and friends in the country, — So I rest your 
dutiful son, J. H. 

Paris, December 10, 1622. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 177 

XXII 

To Sir Thomas Savage y Knight and Baronet 

THAT of the fifth of this present which you 
pleased to send me was received, and I begin 
to think myself something more than I was, that 
you value so much the slender endeavours of my 
pen to do you service. I shall continue to improve 
your good opinion of me as opportunity shall 
serve. 

Touching the great threats against Rochelle, 
whereof I gave you an ample relation in my last, 
matters are become now more calm and rather 
inclining to an accommodation, for it is thought 
a sum of money will make up the breach ; and to 
this end some think all these bravadoes were made. 
The Duke of Luynes is at last made Lord High 
Constable of France, the prime officer of the crown. 
He hath a peculiar court to himself, a guard of a 
hundred men in rich liveries, and a hundred thou- 
sand livres every year pension. The old Duke 
of Lesdiguieres, one of the ancientest soldiers of 
France, and a Protestant, is made his lieutenant. 

But in regard all Christendom rings of this fa- 
vourite, being the greatest that ever was in France 
since the Maires of the palace, who came to be 
kings afterwards, I will send you herein his legend. 
He was born in Province, and is a gentleman by 
descent, though of a petty extraction ; in the last 



lyS FAMILIAR LETTERS 

king's time he was preferred to be one of his pages, 
who, finding him industrious and a good waiter, 
allowed him' 300 crowns pension per annum, which 
he husbanded so well that he maintained himself 
and his two brothers in passable good fashion there- 
with. The King observing that, doubled his pen- 
sion, and taking notice that he was a serviceable 
instrument and apt to please, he thought him fit 
to be about his son, in v/hose service he hath con- 
tinued above fifteen years, and he has flown so high 
into his favour by a singular dexterity and art he 
hath in falconry, and by shooting at birds flying 
wherein the King took great pleasure, that he hath 
soared to this pitch of honour. He is a man of a 
passable good understanding and forecast, of a mild 
comportment, humble and debonair to all, and of 
a winning conversation. He hath about him choice 
and solid heads, who prescribe unto him rules 
of policy, by whose compass he steers his course, 
which is likely will make him subsist long. He is 
now come to that transcendant altitude, that he 
seems to have mounted above the reach of envy, 
and made all hopes of supplanting him frustrate, 
both by the politic guidance of his own actions and 
the powerful alliances he hath got for himself and his 
two brothers. He is married to the Duke of Mont- 
bazon*s daughter, one of the prime peers of France. 
His second brother, Cadenet (who is reputed the 
wisest of the three), married the heiress of Picardy, 
with whom he had ^£^9000 lands a year ; his third 
brother^ Brand, to the great heiress of Luxemburg, 



OF JAMES HOWELL 179 

of which house there have been five emperors, so 
that these three brothers and their allies would be 
able to counterbalance any one faction in France, 
the eldest and youngest being made dukes and 
peers of France, the other marshal . There are lately 
two Ambassadors Extraordinary come hither from 
Venice about the Valtolin, but their negotiation is 
at a stand until the return of an Ambassador Ex- 
traordinary which is gone to Spain. Ambassadors 
also are come from the Hague for payment of the 
French regiment there, which hath been neglected 
these ten years, and to know whether His Majesty 
will be pleased to continue their pay any longer ; 
but their answer is yet suspended. They have 
brought news that the seven ships which were built 
for His Majesty in the Tessel are ready. To this 
he answered, that he desires to have ten more built, 
for he intends to finish that design which his father 
had afoot a little before his death to establish a 
royal company of merchants. 

This is all the news that France affords for the 
present, the relation whereof, if it prove as accept- 
able as my endeavours to serve you herein are 
pleasing unto me, I shall esteem myself happy. 
So wishing you and my noble lady continuance of 
health and increase of honour, I rest your most 
humble servitor, J. H. 

Paris, 15 December 1622. 



i8o FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XXIII 

To Sir John North, Knight 

I CONFESS you have made a perfect conquest 
of me by your late favours, and I yield myself 
your captive. A day may come that will enable 
me to pay my ransom ; in the interim let a most 
thankful acknowledgment be my bail and main- 
prize. 

I am now removed from off the Seine to the 
Loire to the fair town of Orleans. There was here 
lately a mixed procession betwixt military and^ 
ecclesiastic for the Maid of Orleans, which is per- 
formed every year very solemnly. Her statue 
stands upon the bridge, and her clothes are pre- 
served to this day, which a young man wore in 
the procession, which makes me think that her 
story though it sound like a romance is very true, 
and I read it thus in two or three chronicles. 
When the English had made such firm invasions 
in France, that their armies had marched into the 
heart of the country, besieged Orleans and driven 
Charles the Seventh to Bourges in Berry, which 
made him to be called, for the time. King of 
Berry, there came to his army a shepherdess, 
one Anne de Arque, who with a confident look 
and language told the King that she was designed 
by heaven to beat the English and drive them 
out of France. Therefore she desired a command 



OF JAMES HOWELL i8i 

in the army, which by her extraordinary confi- 
dence and importunity she obtained, and putting 
on man's apparel she proved so prosperous that 
the siege was raised from before Orleans, and the 
English were pursued to Paris and forced to quit 
that, and driven to Normandy. She used to go 
on with marvellous courage and resolution, and 
her word was hara ha. But in Normandy she was 
taken prisoner, and the English had a fair revenge 
upon her, for by an arrest of the Parliament of 
Rouen she was burnt for a witch. There is a great 
business now afoot in Paris called the Polette, 
which if it take effect will tend to correct, at least- 
wise to cover a great error in the French govern- 
ment. The custom is that all the chief places of 
justice throughout all the eight courts of Par- 
liament in France, besides a great number of other 
offices, are set to sale by the King, and they return 
to him unless the buyer liveth forty days after his 
resignation to another. It is now propounded 
that these casual offices shall be absolutely hered- 
itary, provided that every officer pay a yearly re- 
venue unto the King, according to the valuation 
of and perquisites of the office. This business is 
now in hot agitation, but the issue is yet doubtful. 

The last you sent I received by Vacandary in 
Paris. So highly honouring your excellent parts 
and merit, I rest, now that I understand French 
indifferent well, no more your (she) servant, but 
your most faithful servitor, J. H. 

Orleans, 3 March 1622 



1 82 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XXIV 

To Sir James Crofts, Knight 

WERE I to freight a letter with compli- 
ments, this country would furnish me with 
variety, but of news a small store at this present ; 
and for compliment it is dangerous to use any to 
you who have such a piercing judgment to dis- 
cern semblances from realities. 

The queen mother is come at last to Paris, where 
she hath not been since Ancre's death. The King 
is also returned post from Bordeaux, having tra- 
versed most part of his kingdom ; he settled peace 
everywhere he passed, and quashed divers insurrec- 
tions, and by his obedience to his mother, and his 
lenity towards all his partisans at Pont de Ce, where 
above 400 were slain, and notwithstanding that he 
was victorious, yet he gave a general pardon ; he 
hath gained much upon the affections of his people. 
His Council of State went ambulatory always with 
him, and as they say here, never did men manage 
things with more wisdom. There is a war ques- 
tionless a-fermenting against the Protestants, the 
Duke of Epernon, in a kind of rodomontade way, 
desired leave of the King to block up Rochelle, 
and in six weeks he would undertake to deliver her 
to his hands, but I believe he reckons without his 
host. I was told a merry passage of this little Gas-- 
con duke, who is now the oldest soldier of France. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 183 

Having come lately to Paris he treated with a pan- 
der to procure him a courtesan, and if she was a 
damosel (a gentlewoman) he would give so much, 
and if a citizen he would give so much. The pan- 
der did his office, but brought him a citizen clad 
in damoseFs apparel, so she and her maquerel were 
paid accordingly. The next day after, some of his 
familiars having understood hereof, began to be 
pleasant with the duke and to jeer him, that he be- 
ing a vieilroutier, an old tried soldier, should suffer 
himself to be so cozened as to pay for a citizen after 
the rate of a gentlewoman ; the little duke grew 
half wild hereupon, and commenced an action of 
fraud against the pander, but what became of it I 
cannot tell you, but all Paris rung of it. I hope to 
return now very shortly to England, where amongst 
the rest of my noble friends I shall much rejoice to 
see and serve you, whom I honour with no vulgar 
affection, so I am, your true servitor, J. H. 
Orleans, 5 March 1622. 



XXV 

To my Cousin y Mr Will Martin at Brussels; 
from Paris 

Dear Cousin, 

1FIND you are very punctual in your perform- 
ances, and a precise observer of the promise 
you made here to correspond with Mr Altham and 



1 84 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

me by letters. I thank you for the variety of Ger- 
man news you imparted unto me, which was so 
neatly couched and curiously knit together, that 
your letter might serve for a pattern to the best 
intelligencer. I am sorry the affairis of the Prince 
Palsgrave go so untowardly ; the wheel of war may 
turn, and that spoke which is now up may down 
again. For French occurrences, there is a war cer- 
tainly intended against them of the religion here ; 
and there are visible preparations afoot already. 
Amongst others that shrink in the shoulders at 
it, the King's servants are not very well pleased with 
it, in regard besides Scots and Swissers, there are 
divers of the King's servants that are Protestants. 
If a man go to ragion di stato, to reason of state, 
the French King hath something to justify this 
design ; for the Protestants being so numerous, 
and having near upon fifty presidiary walled towns 
in their hands for caution, they have power to 
disturb France when they please, and being abet- 
ted by a foreign prince to give the King law ; and 
you know as well as I how they have been made 
use of to kindle a fire in France. Therefore rather 
than they should be utterly suppressed, I believe 
the Spaniard himself would reach them his rag- 
ged-staff to defend them. 

I send you here inclosed another from Master 
Altham, who respects you dearly, and we remem- 
bered you lately at La pomme du pin in the best 
liquor of the French grape. I shall be shortly for 
London, where I shall not rejoice a little to meet 



OF JAMES HOWELL 185 

you ; the English air may confirm what foreign 
begun, I mean our friendship and affections, and 
in me (that I may return you in English the Latin 
verses you sent me) : 

As soon a little, little ant 

Shall bib the ocean dry, 

A snail shall creep about the world. 

Ere these affections die. 

So, my dear cousin, may Virtue be your guide 
and Fortune your companion. — Yours while 

Jam. Howell. 

Paris, 18 March 1662. 



EPISTOLiE HO-ELIANiE 
SECTION III 



SECTION III 



To my Father 

I AM safely returned now the second time from 
beyond the seas, but I have yet no employment. 
God and good friends I hope will shortly provide 
one for me. 

The Spanish Ambassador, Count Gondamar, 
doth strongly negotiate a match betwixt our Prince 
and the Infanta of Spain, but at his first audience 
there happened an ill-favoured accident (I pray God 
it prove no ill augury), for my Lord of Arundell 
being sent to accompany him to Whitehall upon 
a Sunday in the afternoon, as they were going over 
the terrasse, it brokeunder them, but only one was 
hurt in the arm. Gondamar said that he had not 
cared to have died in so good company. Hesaith 
there is no other way to regain the Palatinate but 
by this match, and to settle an eternal peace in 
Christendom. 

The Marquis of Buckingham continueth still 
in fulness of grace and favour. The countess, his 
mother, sways also much at court. She brought 
Sir Henry Montague from delivering law on the 
King's Bench to look to his bags in the Exchequer, 
for she made him Lord High Treasurer of Eng- 



I90 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

land ; but he parted with his white stafFbefore the 
year's end, though his purse had bled deeply for 
it (above ^20,000), which made a lord of this land 
to ask him at his return from court "whether he 
did not find that wood was extremely dear at New- 
market/' for there he received the white staff. 
There is now a notable stirring man in the place, 
my Lord Cranfield, who, from walking about the 
Exchange, is come to sit Chief Judge in the Ex- 
chequer Chamber, and to have one of the highest 
places at the council table. He is married to one 
of the tribe of Fortune, a kinswoman of the Mar- 
quis of Buckingham. Thus there is rising and fall- 
ing at court, and as in our natural pace one foot 
cannot be up till the other be down, so it is in the 
affairs of the world commonly — one man riseth 
at the fall of the other. 

I have no more to write at this time, but that 
with tender of my duty to you, I desire a continu- 
ance of your blessing and prayers. Your dutiful 
son, J. H. 

London, March 22, 1622. 



II 

To the Honourable Mr yohn Savage {now 
Earl Rivers) at Florence 

MY love is not so short but it can reach as 
far as Florence to find you out, and further, 
too, if occasion required, nor are these affections 



OF JAMES HOWELL 191 

I have to serve you so dull but they can clamber 
over the Alps and Apennines to wait upon you, 
as they have adventured to do now in this paper. 
I am sorry I was not in London to kiss your 
hands before you set to sea, and much more 
sorry that I had not the happiness to meet you in 
Holland or Brabant, for we went the very same 
road, and lay in Dort and Antwerp in the same 
lodgings you had lain in a fortnight before. I 
presume you have by this time tasted of the 
sweetness of travel, and that you have weaned 
your affections frorh England for a good while. 
You must now think upon home as (one said) 
good men think upon heaven, aiming still to go 
thither, but not till they finish their course ; and 
yours, I understand, will be three years. In the 
meantime you must not suffer any melting ten- 
derness of thoughts, or longing desires, to distract 
or interrupt you in that fair road you are in to 
virtue, and to beautify within that comely edifice 
which nature hath built without you. I know 
your reputation is precious to you, as it should 
be to every noble mind ; you have exposed it now 
to the hazard, therefore you must be careful it 
receive no taint at your return by not answering 
that expectation which your Prince and noble 
parents have of you. You are now under the 
chiefest clime of wisdom, fair Italy, the darling of 
nature, the nurse of policy, the theatre of virtue. 
But though Italy give milk to Virtue with one 
dug, she often suffers Vice to suck at the other ; 



192 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

therefore you must take heed you mistake not the 
dug, for there Is an ill-favoured saying that " Inglese 
Italionato e diavolo incarnato " (an Englishman- 
Italian is a devil incarnate). I fear no such thing of 
youj I have had such pregnant proofs of your inge- 
nuity and noble inclinations to virtue and honour: 
I know you have a mind to both, but I must tell 
you that you will hardly get the goodwill of the 
latter unless the first speak a good word for you. 
When you go to Rome you may haply see the 
ruins of two temples, one dedicated to Virtue, the 
other to Honour, and there was no way to enter 
into the last but through the first. Noble sir, 
I wish your good very seriously, and if you please 
to call to memory, and examine the circumstance 
of things, and my carriage towards you since I had 
the happiness to be known first to your honour- 
able family, I know you will conclude that I love 
and honour you in no vulgar way. 

My lord, your grandfather, was complaining 
lately that he had not heard from you a good 
while. By the next shipping to Leghorn, amongst 
other things, he intends to send you a whole 
brawn in collars. I pray be pleased to remember 
my affectionate service to Mr Thomas Savage, 
and my kind respects to Mr Bold. For English 
news I know this packet comes freighted to you, 
therefore I forbear at this time to send any. Fare- 
well, noble heir of honour, and command always 
your true servitor, J. H. 

London, March 24, 1622. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 193 



III 

To Sir James Crofts, Knight , at Saint Osith 

in Essex 

1HAD yours upon Tuesday last, and whereas 
you are desirous to know the proceedings of 
the Parliament, I am sorry I must write to you 
that matters begin to grow boisterous. The King 
retired not long since to Newmarket not very 
well pleased, and this week there went thither 
twelve from the House of Commons, to whom 
Sir Richard Weston was the mouth. The King, 
not liking the message they brought, called them 
his ambassadors, and in the large answer which he 
hath sent to the Speaker, he saith that he must 
apply unto them a speech of Queen Elizabeth's 
to an ambassador of Poland, " Legatum expecta- 
vimus, Heraldum accepimus " (We expected an 
ambassador, we have received a herald). He takes 
it not well that they should meddle with the 
match betwixt his son and the Infanta, alleging 
an example of one of the kings of France, who 
would not marry his son without the advice of his 
Parliament; but afterwards that king grew so 
despicable abroad that no foreign state would 
treat with him about anything without his Parlia- 
ment. Sundry other high passages there were ; 
as a caveat he gave them not to touch the honour 
of the King of Spain, with whom he was so far 



194 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

engaged in a matrimonial treaty that he could not 
go back. He gave them also a check for taking 
cognizance of those things which had their motion 
in the ordinary courts of justice-, and that Sir 
Edward Coke (though these words were not 
inserted in the answer), whom he thought to be 
the fittest instrument for a tyrant that ever was in 
England, should be so bold as to call the pre- 
rogative of the crown a great monster. The Par- 
liament after this was not long lived, but broke 
up in discontent, and upon the point of dissolu- 
tion they made a protest against divers particulars 
in the aforesaid answer of His Majesty's. My 
Lord Digby is preparing for Spain in quality of 
Ambassador Extraordinary, to perfect the match 
betwixt our Prince and the Lady Infanta, in which 
business Gondamar hath waded already very deep, 
and been very active, and ingratiated himself with 
divers persons of quality, ladies especially, yet he 
could do no good upon the Lady Hatton, whom he 
desired lately that in regard he was her next neigh- 
bour (at Ely-House) he might have the benefit of 
her back gate to go abroad into the fields; but 
she put him off with a compliment, whereupon in 
a private audience lately with the King amongst 
other passages of merriment, he told him that my 
Lady Hatton was a strange lady, for she would not 
suffer her husband Sir Edward Coke, to come in at 
her fore door, nor him to go out at her back door, 
and so related the whole business. He was also 
dispatching a post lately for Spain, and the post 



OF JAMES HOWELL 195 

having received his packet and kissed his hands, 
he called him back and told him he had forgot 
one thing, which was, that when he came to Spain 
he should commend him to the sun, for he had 
not seen him a great while, and in Spain he 
should be sure to find him. — So with my most 
humble service to my Lord of Colchester, I rest 
your most humble servitor, J. H. 

London, March 24, 1622. 

IV 

Ti? my Brother y Mr Hugh Penry 

THE Welsh nag you sent me was delivered 
me in a very good plight, and I give you a 
thousand thanks for him. I had occasion lately 
to try his mettle and his lungs, and every one tells 
me he is right, and of no mongrel race, but a 
true mountaineer ; for besides his toughness and 
strength of lungs up a hill, he is quickly curried, 
and content with short commons. 1 believe he 
hath not been long a highway traveller, for 
whereas other horses when they pass by an inn or 
alehouse use to make towards them to give them 
a friendly visit, this nag roundly goes on, and 
scorns to cast as much as a glance upon any of 
them, which I know not whether I shall impute 
it to his ignorance or height of spirit, but convers- 
ing with the soft horses of England, I believe he 
will quickly be brought to be more courteous. 



196 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

The greatest news we have now is the return 
of the Lord Bishop of LandafF, Davenant, Ward, 
and Belcanquell from the Synod of Dort, where 
the bishop had precedence given him according 
to his episcopal dignity. Arminius and Vorstius 
were sore baited there concerning predestination, 
election, and reprobation, as also touching Christ's 
death and man's redemption by it ; then concern- 
ing man's corruption and conversion ; lastly, con- 
cerning the perseverance of the saints. I shall have 
shortly the transaction of the Synod. The Jesuits 
have put out a jeering libel against it, and these 
two verses I remember in it. 

Dordrecti Synodus ? nodus ; chorus integer ? aeger ; 
Conventus ? ventus ; Sessio stramen ? Amen. 

But I will confront this distich with another I 
read in France of the Jesuits in the town of Dole, 
towards Lorraine. They had a great house given 
them called L'Arc (arcum), and upon the river of 
Loire, Henry the Fourth gave them La Flecbe, 
sagittam in Latin, where they have two stately 
convents, that is, bow and arrow ; whereupon one 
made these verses : 

Arcum Dola dedit, dedit illis alma sagittam 

Francia ; quis chordam, quam meruere, dabit ? 

Fair France the arrow. Dole gave them the bow. 
Who shall the string which they deserve bestow. 

No more now, but that with my dear love to my 
sister, I rest your most affectionate brother, 

J. H. 
London, April 16, 1622. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 197 

V 

To the Lord Viscount Colchester 

My Good Lord, 

I RECEIVED your lordship's of the last week, 
and according to your command, I send here 
enclosed the Venetian Gazette. Of foreign avisos, 
they write that Mansfeldt hath been beaten out of 
Germany and is come to Sedan, and it is thought 
that the Duke of Bovillon will set him up again 
with a new army. Marquis Spinola hath newly sat 
down before Berghen-op-Zoom. Your lordship 
knows well what consequence that town is of, 
therefore it is likely this will be a hot summer 
in the Netherlands. The French King is in open 
war against them of the religion ; he hath already 
cleared the Loire by taking Jerseau and Saumur, 
where Monsieur du Plessis sent him the keys, 
which are promised to be delivered him again, but 
I think ad Graecas Calendas, He hath been also 
before Saint John d'Angeli, where the young Car- 
dinal of Guyse died, being struck down by the 
puff of a cannon bullet, which put him in a burn- 
ing fever and made an end of him. The last town 
that was taken was Clerac, which was put to 
50,000 crowns ransom. Many were put to the 
sword and divers gentlemen drowned as they 
thought to escape. This is the fifteenth caution- 
ary town the King hath taken, and now they say 



198 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

he marcheth towards Montauban, and so to 
Montpellier and Nismes, and then have at 
Rochelle. My Lord Hays is by this time, it is 
thought, with the army, for Sir Edward Herbert is 
returned, having had some clashings and counter- 
bufFs with the favourite Luynes, wherein he com- 
ported himself gallantly. There is a fresh report 
blown over that Luynes is lately dead in the army 
of the plague, some say of the purples, the next 
cousin german to it, which the Protestants give out 
to be the just judgment of heaven fallen upon him, 
because he incited his master to these wars against 
them. If he be not dead, let him die when he 
will, he will leave a fame behind him to have been 
the greatest favourite for the time that ever was in 
France, having from a simple faulconer come to 
be High Constable, and made himself and his 
younger brother Grand Dukes and peers, and his 
second brother Cadenet, Marshal, and all three 
married to princely families. 

No more now, but that I most humbly kiss 
your lordship's hands, and shall be always most 
ready and cheerful to receive your commandments, 
because I am your lordship's obliged servitor, 

J. H. 

London, 12 August 1623. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 199 

VI 

To my Father from London 

1WAS at a dead stand in the course of my 
fortunes when it pleased God to provide me 
lately an employment to Spain, whence I hope 
there may arise both repute and profit. Some of 
the Cape merchants of the Turkey Company, 
amongst whom the chiefest were Sir Robert Nap- 
per, and Captain Leat proposed unto me that 
they had a great business in the Court of Spain in 
agitation many years, nor was it now their busi- 
ness but the King's, in whose name it is followed. 
They could have gentlemen of good quality that 
would undertake it. Yet if I would take it upon 
me they would employ no other, and assured me 
that the employment should tend both to my 
benefit and credit. Now the business is this : 
There was a great Turkey ship called the Vineyard^ 
sailing through the straits towards Constantinople, 
but by distress of weather she was forced to put 
into a little port called Milo, in Sardinia. The 
searchers came aboard of her, and finding her richly 
laden, for her cargazon of broad-cloth was worth 
the first penny near upon ^^30,000, they cavilled at 
some small proportion of lead and tin, which they 
had only for the use of the ship, which the searchers 
alleged to be ropa de contrahandoy prohibited goods, 
for by Article of Peace nothing is to be carried to 



loo FAMILIAR LETTERS 

Turkey that may arm or victual. The Viceroy of 
Sardinia hereupon seized upon the whole ship 
and all her goods, landed the master and men in 
Spain, who coming to Sir Charles Cornwall's, then 
ambassador at the court, Sir Charles could do 
them little good at present, therefore they came to 
England and complained to the King and Council. 
His Majesty was so sensible hereof that he sent 
a particular commission in his own royal name 
to demand a restitution of the ship and goods, 
and justice upon the Viceroy of Sardinia, who had 
so apparently broke the peace and wronged his 
subjects. Sir Charles (with Sir Paul Pindar a while) 
laboured in the business, and commenced a suit in 
law, but he was called home before he could do 
anything to purpose. After him Sir John Digby 
(now Lord Digby) went ambassador to Spain, 
and amongst other things he had that particular 
commission from His Majesty invested in him to 
prosecute the suit in his own royal name. There- 
upon he sent a well qualified gentleman, Mr 
Walsingham Gresley, to Sardinia, who, unfortun- 
ately, meeting with some men-of-war in the pass- 
age, was carried prisoner to Algiers. My Lord 
Digby being remanded home, left the business in 
Mr Cottington's hands, then agent, but resumed 
it at his return ; yet it proved such a tedious, in- 
tricate suit that he returned again without finish- 
ing the work, in regard of the remoteness of the 
island of Sardinia, whence the witnesses and other 
dispatches were to be fetched. The Lord Digby 



OF JAMES HOWELL aoi 

Is going now Ambassador Extraordinary to the 
Court of Spain upon the business of the match, 
the restitution of the Palatinate, and other high 
affairs of state, therefore he is desirous to transmit 
the King*s commission touching this particular 
business to any gentleman that is capable to fol- 
low it, and promiseth to assist him with the ut- 
most of his power, and i* faith, he hath good 
reason to do so, in regard he hath now a good 
round share himself in it. About this business I 
am now preparing to go to Spain, in company of 
the Ambassador, and I shall kiss the King's hands, 
as his agent touching this particular commission. 
I humbly entreat that your blessing and prayers 
may accompany me in this my new employment, 
which I have undertaken upon very good terms, 
touching expenses and reward. So with my dear 
love to my brothers and sisters, with other kin- 
dred and friends in the country, I rest your duti- 
ful son, J. H. 
London, 8 September \6ii. 

VII 

To Sir Tho, Savage, Knight and Baronet, at 
his house in Long-Melford 

I RECEIVED your commands in a letter which 
you sent me by Sir John North, and I shall 
not fail to serve you in those particulars. It hath 
pleased God to dispose of me once more for Spain, 



202 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

upon a business which I hope will make me good 
returns. There have two ambassadors and a royal 
agent followed it hitherto, and I am the fourth 
that is employed in it. I defer to trouble you with 
the particulars of it, in regard I hope to have the 
happiness to kiss your hand at Tower Hill before 
my departure, which will not be till my Lord 
Digby sets forward. He goes in a gallant, splen- 
did equipage, and one of the King's ships is to take 
him in at Plymouth ; and transport him to the 
Corunna or Saint Anderas. 

Since that sad disaster which befeb Archbishop 
Abbott, to kill the man by the glancing of an 
arrow as he was shooting at a deer (which kind of 
death befel one of our kings once in New Forest), 
there had been a commission awarded to debate 
whether upon this fact, whereby he hath shed 
human blood, he be not to be deprived of his 
archbishopric, and pronounced irregular ; some 
were against him, but Bishop Andrews and Sir 
Henry Martin stood stiffly for him, that in regard 
it was no spontaneous act, but a mere contin- 
gency, and that there is no degree of men but is 
subject to misfortunes and casualties, they declared 
positively that he was not to fall from his dignity 
or function, but should still remain a regular, and 
in statu quoprius; during this debate he petitioned 
the King that he might be permitted to retire to 
his almshouse at Guildford, where he was born, to 
pass the remainder of his life; but he is now come 
to be again rectus in curia, absolutely quitted and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 203 

restored to all things. But for the wife of him 
which was killed, it was no misfortune to her, for 
he hath endowed herself and her children with 
such an estate, that they say her husband could 
never have got. — So I humbly kiss your hands, 
and rest your most obliged servitor, 

J.H. 
London, 9 November 1622. 



VIII 

To Captain Nich, Leat^from Madrid, at his 
house in London 

I AM safely come to the Court of Spain, and 
although by reason of that misfortune which 
befel Mr Altham and me, of wounding the ser- 
geants in Lombard Street, we stayed three weeks 
behind my Lord Ambassador, yet we came hither 
time enough to attend him to Court at his first 
audience. 

The English nation is better looked on now in 
Spain than ordinary, because of the hopes there 
are of a match, which the merchant and commun- 
alty much desire, though the nobility and gentry 
be not so forward for it. So that in this point the 
pulse of Spain beats quite contrary to that of Eng- 
land, where the people are averse to this match, 
and the nobility with most part of the gentry in- 
clinable. 



204 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

I have perused all the papers I could get into 
my hands touching the business of the ship Vine- 
yardy and I find that they are higher than I in 
bulk, though closely prest together; I have cast 
up what is awarded by all the sentences of view 
and review, by the Council of State and War, and 
I find the whole sum, as well principal as interest 
upon interest, all sorts of damages, and processal 
charges, come, to above two hundred and fifty 
thousand crowns. The Conde del ReaU quondam 
Viceroy of Sardinia, who is adjudged to pay most 
part of the money, is here, and he is major-domo, 
Lord Steward to the Infante Cardinal. If he hath 
wherewith, I doubt not but to recover the money, 
for I hope to have come in a favourable conjunc- 
ture of time, and my Lord Ambassador, who is so 
highly esteemed here, doth assure me of his best 
furtherance. So praying I may prove as success- 
ful, as I shall be faithful in this great business, 
I rest yours to dispose of, J. H. 

Madrid, 28 'December 1622. 



IX 

To Mr Arthur Hopton,from Madrid 

SINCE I was made happy with your acquaint- 
ance, I have received sundry strong evidences 
of your love and good wishes unto me, which 
have tied me unto you in no common obligation 
of thanks. I am in despair ever to cancel this 



OF JAMES HOWELL 205 

bond, nor would I do it, but rather endear the 
engagement more and more. 

The treaty of the match betwixt our Prince and 
the Lady Infanta is now strongly afoot. She is a 
very comely lady, rather of a Flemish complexion 
than Spanish, fair haired, and carrieth a most pure 
mixture of red and white in her face ; she is full 
and big lipped, which is held a beauty rather than 
a blemish or any excess in the Austrian family, it 
being a thing incident to most of that race. She 
goes now upon sixteen, and is of a tallness agree- 
able to those years. The King is also of such a 
complexion and is under twenty. He hath two 
brothers, Don Carlos and Don Hernando, who 
though a youth of twelve, yet he is Cardinal and 
Archbishop of Toledo, which, in regard it hath 
the Chancellorship of Castile annexed to it, is the 
greatest spiritual dignity in Christendom after the 
Papacy, for it is valued at 300,000 crowns per 
annum. Don Carlos is of a different complexion 
from all the rest, for he is black-haired and of a 
Spanish hue. He hath neither office, command, 
dignity or title, but is an individual companion 
to the King, and what clothes soever are provided 
for the King he hath the very same, and as often, 
from top to toe. He is the better beloved of the 
people for his complexion ; for one shall hear the 
Spaniard sigh and lament, saying, " O, when shall 
we have a king again of our own colour ! ** 

I pray commend me kindly to all at your house, 
and send me word when the young gentlemen 



2o6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

return from Italy. So with my most affectionate 
respects to yourself, I rest your true friend to 
serve you, J. H. 

Madrid, 5 January 1622. 



X 

To Captain Nic, Leat,from Madrid 

YOURS of the loth of this present I received 
by Mr Simon Digby, with the inclosed to 
your son in Alicant, which is safely sent. Since my 
last unto you I had access to Olivares, the favourite 
that rules all. I had also audience of the King, 
to whom I delivered two memorials since, in His 
Majesty's name of Great Britain, that a particu- 
lar Junta of some of the Council of State and 
War might be appointed to determine the busi- 
ness. The last memorial had so good success 
that the referees are nominated, whereof the chief- 
est is the Duke of Infantado. Here it is not the 
style to claw and compliment with the King or 
idolize him by Sacred Sovereign and Most Excel- 
lent Majesty, but the Spaniard when he petitions 
to his king gives him no other character but " Sir," 
and so relating his business; at the end he doth 
ask and demand justice of him. When I have 
done with the Viceroy here, I shall hasten my 
dispatches for Sardinia. Since my last I went to 
liquidate the account more particularly, and I find 
that of the 250,000 crowns there are above 40,000 



OF JAMES HOWELL 207 

due unto you, which might serve for a good al- 
derman's estate. 

Your son in Alicante writes to me of another 
mischance that is befallen the ship Amitie about 
Majorca, whereof you were one of the proprietaries. 
I am very sorry to hear of it, and touching any 
dispatches that are to be had hence, I shall en- 
deavour to procure you them according to instruc- 
tions. 

Your cousin, Richard Altham, remembers his 
kind respects unto you, and sends you many 
thanks for the pains you took in freeing us from 
that trouble which the scuffle with the sergeants 
brought upon us. So I rest yours ready to serve 
you, J. H. 

Madrid, 5 January 1622. 

XI 

'To the Lord Viscount Colchester, from Madrid 

Right Honourable, 

THE grand business of the match goes so fairly 
on that a special Junta is appointed to treat 
of it, the names whereof I send you here inclosed. 
They have proceeded so far that most of the 
articles are agreed upon. Mr George Gage is 
lately come hither from Rome, a polite and pru- 
dent gentleman, who hath negotiated some things 
in that Court for the advance of the business with 
the Cardinals Bandino, Lodovisio,and La Susanna, 



2o8 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

who are the main men there to whom the drawing 
of the dispensation is referred. 

The late taking of Ormus by the Persians from 
the Crown of Portugal keeps a great noise here, 
and the rather because the exploit was done by 
the assistance of the English ships that were then 
thereabouts. My Lord Digby went to Court and 
gave a round satisfaction in this point ; for it was 
no voluntary but a constrained act in the English, 
who being in the Persian^s port were suddenly 
embarked for the service; and the Persian herein 
did no more than what is usual amongst Chris- 
tian princes themselves, and which is oftener put 
in practice by the King of Spain and his viceroys, 
than by any other, viz., to make an embargo of 
any stranger's ship that rides within his ports 
upon all occasions. It was feared this surprisal of 
Ormus, which was the greatest mart in all the 
Orient for all sorts of jewels, would have bred ill 
blood, and prejudiced the proceedings of the 
match, but the Spaniard is a rational man, and 
will be satisfied with reason. Count Olivares is the 
main man who sways all, and 'tis thought he is 
not so much affected to an alliance with England 
as his predecessor the Duke of Lerma was, who 
set it first afoot betwixt Prince Henry and this 
Queen of France. The Duke of Lerma was the 
greatest privado, the greatest favourite, that ever 
was in Spain since Don Alvaro de Luna. He 
brought, himself, the Duke of Uzeda his son, and 
the Duke of Cea his grandchild, to be all Grandees 



OF JAMES HOWELL 209 

of Spain, which is the greatest title that a Spanish 
subject is capable of; they have a privilege to stand 
covered before the King, and at their election there 
is no other ceremony but only these three words 
by the King, " Cobrese por Grande " (cover your- 
self for a Grandee), and that is all. The Cardinal 
Duke of Lerma lives at Valladolid ; he officiates 
and sings mass, and passeth his old age in devo- 
tion and exercises of piety. It is a common and, in- 
deed, a commendable custom amongst the Span- 
iard when he hath passed \\\s grand climact eric y?ind 
is grown decrepit, to make a voluntary resignation 
of offices be they never so great and profitable 
(though I cannot say Lerma did so), and sequest- 
ring and weaning themselves, as it were, from all 
mundane negotiations and incumbrances, to retire 
to some place of devotion, and spend the residue 
of their days in meditation and in preparing them- 
selves for another world. Charles the Emperor 
shewed them the way, who left the empire to his 
brother, and all the rest of his dominions to his 
son Philip the Second, and so, taking with him 
his two sisters, he retired into a monastery, they 
into a nunnery. This doth not suit well with the 
genius of an Englishman, who loves not to pull 
off his clothes till he goes to bed. I will conclude 
with some verses I saw under a huge Rodomon- 
tado picture of the Duke of Lerma, wherein he is 
painted like a giant bearing up the monarchy of 
Spain, that of France, and the Popedom, upon 
his shoulders, with this stanza — 



2IO FAMILIAR LETTERS 

Sobre los ombres d*este Atlante 
Yazen en aquestos dias 
Estas tres Monarquias. 

Upon the shoulders of this Atlas lies 

The Popedom and two mighty Monarchies. 

So I most humbly kiss your Lordship's hands, 
and rest ever most ready at your Lordship's com- 
mand, J. H. 

Madrid, 3 February 1622, 



XII 

To my Father 

ALL affairs went on fairly here, specially that 
of the match when Master Endymion 
Porter brought lately my Lord of Bristol a dis- 
patch from England of a high nature, wherein the 
earl is commanded to represent unto this King 
how much His Majesty of Great Britain since the 
beginning of these German wars hath laboured to 
merit well of this crown, and of the whole House 
of Austria, by a long and lingering patience, 
grounded still upon assurances hence, that care 
should be had of his honour, his daughter's join- 
ture, and grandchildren's patrimony; yet how 
crossly all things had proceeded in the treaty at 
Brussels, managed by Sir Richard Weston, as also 
that in the Palatinate by the Lord Chichester; 



OF JAMES HOWELL 211 

how in treatlng-time the town and castle of Heidel- 
berg were taken, Manheim besieged, and all acts 
of hostiUty used, notwithstanding the fair profes- 
sions made by this King, the Infanta at Brussels, 
and other his ministers ; how merely out of re- 
spect to this King he had neglected all martial 
means which probably might have preserved the 
Palatinate ; those thin garrisons which he had 
sent thither being rather for honour's sake to keep 
a footing until a general accommodation, than 
that he relied any way upon their strength ; and 
since that there are no other fruits of all this but 
reproach and scorn, and that those good offices 
which he used towards the Emperor on the behalf 
of his son-in-law, which he was so much encouraged 
by letters from hence should take effect, have not 
sorted to any other issue, than to a plain affront and 
a high injuring of both their Majesties, though in 
a different degree ; the earl is to tell him that His 
Majesty of Great Britain hopes and desires that 
out of a true apprehension of these wrongs offered 
unto them both, he will as his dear and loving 
brother faithfully promise and undertake upon his 
honour, confirming the same under his hand and 
seal, either that Heidelberg shall be within seventy 
days rendered into his hands ; as also that there 
shall be within the said term of seventy days a sus- 
pension of arms in the Palatinate, and that a treaty 
shall recommence upon such terms as he pro- 
pounded in November last, which this King held 
then to be reasonable ; and in case that this be not 



212 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

yielded unto by the Emperor, that then this King 
join forces with His Majesty of England, for the 
recovery of the Palatinate, which upon this trust 
hath been lost ; or in case his forces at this time 
be otherwise employed, that they cannot give His 
Majesty that assistance he desires and deserves, 
that at least he will permit a free and friendly pass- 
age through his territories such forces as His Maj- 
esty of Great Britain shall employ in, Germany. 
Of all which, if the Earl of Bristol hath not from 
the King of Spain a direct assurance under his 
hand and seal ten days after his audience, that 
then he take his leave and return to England to 
His Majesty's presence, also to proceed in the ne- 
gotiation of the match according to former instruc- 
tions. 

This was the main substance of His Majesty's 
late letter, yet there was a postscript added that in 
case a rupture happen betwixt the two crowns the 
earl should not come instantly and abruptly away, 
but that he should send advice first to England 
and carry the business so that the world should 
not presently know of it. 

Notwithstanding all these traverses we are con- 
fident here that the match will take, otherwise my 
cake is dough. There was a great difference in one 
of the capitulations betwixt the two kings how long 
the children which should issue of this marriage 
were to continue suh regimine matris^ under the 
tutelage of the mother. This King demanded four- 
teen years at first, then twelve, but now he is come 



OF JAMES HOWELL 213 

to nine, which is newly condescended unto. I re- 
ceived yours of the ist of September in another 
from Sir James Crofts, wherein it was no small 
comfort to me to hear of your health. I am to 
go hence shortly for Sardinia, a dangerous voyage, 
by reason of Algier pirates. I humbly desire your 
prayers may accompany your dutiful son, 

J.H. 
Madrid, 23 February 1622, 



XIII 

To Sir James Crofts, Knight 

YOURS of the 2nd of October came to safe 
hand with the enclosed. You write that there 
came despatches lately from Rome, wherein the 
Pope seems to endeavour to insinuate himself into 
a direct treaty with England, and to negotiate im- 
mediately with our King touching the dispensation, 
which he not only labours to evade, but utterly 
disclaims, it being by article the task of this King 
to procure all despatches thence. I thank you for 
sending me this news. You shall understand there 
came lately an express from Rome also to this 
court, touching the business of the match, which 
gave very good content, but the dispatch and new 
instructions which Mr Endymion Porter brought 
my Lord of Bristol lately from England, touching 
the Prince Palatine, filled us with apprehension 
of fear. Our ambassadors here have had audience 



214 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

of this King already about those propositions, and 
we hope that Master Porter will carry back such 
things as will satisfy. Touching the two points in 
the treaty, wherein the two kings differed most, 
viz., about th« education of the children, and the 
exemption of the Infanta's ecclesiastic servants 
from secular jurisdiction, both these points are 
cleared, for the Spaniard is come from fourteen 
years to ten, and for so long time the infant princes 
shall remain under the mother's government. And 
for the other point the ecclesiastical superior shall 
first take notice of the offence that shall be com- 
mitted by any spiritual person belonging to the 
Infanta's family, and according to the merit thereof 
either deliver him by degradation to the secular 
justice, or banish him the kingdom according to 
the quality of the delict, and it is the same that is 
practised in this kingdom and other parts that 
adhere to Rome. 

The Conde de Monterre goes Viceroy to Na- 
ples, the Marquis de Montesclaros being put by, 
the gallanter man of the two. I was told of a witty 
saying of his when the Duke of Lerma had the 
vogue in this court ; for going one morning to 
speak with the duke, and having danced attend- 
ance a long time, he peeped through a slit in the 
hanging, and spied Don Rodrigo Calderon, a great 
man (who was lately beheaded here for poisoning 
the late Queen Dowager), delivering the duke a 
paper upon his knees, whereat the marquis smiled 
and said, " Voto a tal, aquel hombre sube mas a 



OF JAMES HOWELL 215 

las rodillaSj que yo no hago a los pies " (I swear 
that man climbs higher upon his knees than I can 
upon my feet). Indeed I have read it to be a true 
court rule that descendendo ascendendum est in Aula, 
descending is the way to ascend at court. There is 
a kind of humility and compliance that is far from 
any servile baseness or sordid flattery, and may be 
termed discretion rather than adulation. I intend, 
God willing, to go for Sardinia this spring. I hope 
to have better luck than Master Walsingham 
Gresley had, who some few years since in his pass- 
age thither upon the same business that I have in 
agitation met with some Turkish men-of-war, and 
so was carried a slave to Algiers. — So with my 
true respects to you, I rest your faithful servant, 

J. H. 

Madrid, 12 March 1622. 



XIV 

To Sir Francis Cottington, Secretary to His High- 
ness the Prince of Wales, at Saint James 

I BELIEVE it will not be unpleasing unto you 
to hear of the procedure and success of that 
business wherein yourself hath been so long versed 
— I mean the great suit against the quondam 
Viceroy of Sardinia, the Conde del a Real. Count 
Gondomar's coming was a great advantage unto 
me, who hath done me many favours, besides a 



2i6 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

confirmation of the two sentences of view and re- 
view, and of the execution against the Viceroy. I 
have procured a royal schedule, which I caused to 
be printed, and whereof I send you here enclosed 
a copy, by which schedule I have power to arrest 
his very person ; and my lawyers tell me there was 
never such a schedule granted before. I have also 
by virtue of it priority of all other his creditors. 
He hath, made an imperfect overture of a com- 
position, and showed me some trivial old-fashioned 
jewels, but nothing equivalent to the debt. And 
now that I speak of jewels, the late surprisal of 
Ormus, by the assistance of our ships, sinks deep 
in their stomachs here, and we were afraid it would 
have spoiled all proceedings ; but my Lord Digby, 
now Earl of Bristol (for Count Gondomar brought 
him over his patent), hath calmed all things at his 
last audience, 

There were luminaries of joy lately here for the 
victory that Don Gonzalez de Cordova got over 
Count Mansfelt in the Netherlands with that army 
which the Duke of Bouillon had levied for him ; 
but some say they have not much reason to re- 
joice, for though the infantry suffered, yet Mans- 
felt got clear with all his horse by a notable retreat, 
and they say here it was the greatest piece of 
service and art he ever did, it being a maxim 
that there is nothing so difficult in the art of war 
as an honourable retreat. Besides, the report of 
his coming to Breda caused Marquis Spinola to 
raise the siege before Berghen, to burn his tents. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 217 

and to pack away suddenly, for which he is much 
censured here. 

Captain Leat and others have written to me of 
the favourable report you pleased to make of my 
endeavours here, for which I return you humble 
thanks. And though you have left behind you a 
multitude of servants in this court, yet if occasion 
were offered, none should be more forward to 
go on your errand than your humble and faithful 
servitor, J. H. 

Madrid, 15 March 1622. 

XV 

To the Honourable Sir Thos, Savage^ Knight 
and Baronet 

THE great business of the match was tend- 
ing to a period, the articles reflecting both 
upon Church and State being capitulated and in- 
terchangeably accorded on both sides, and there 
wanted nothing to consummate all things, when 
to the wonderment of the world the Prince and 
the Marquis of Buckingham arrived at this 
court on Friday last upon the close of the even- 
ing. They alighted at my Lord of BristoFs house, 
and the Marquis (Mr Thomas Smith) came in 
first with a portmanteau under his arm, then 
(Mr John Smith) the Prince was sent for, who 
stayed a while the other side of the street in the 
dark. My Lord of Bristol, in a kind of astonish- 



2i8 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

merit, brought him up to his bedchamber, where 
he presently called for pen and ink, and despatched 
a post that night to England to acquaint His 
Majesty how in less than sixteen days he was 
come safely to the court of Spain. That post went 
lightly laden, for he carried but three letters. The 
next day came Sir Francis Cottington and Mr 
Porter, and dark rumours ran in every corner how 
some great man was come from England, and 
some would not stick to say amongst the vulgar 
it was the King. But towards the evening on Sat- 
urday the Marquis went in a close coach to court, 
where he had private audience of this King, who 
sent Olivares to accompany him back to the Prince, 
where he kneeled and kissed his hands, and hugged 
his thighs, and delivered how unmeasurably glad 
his Catholic Majesty was of his coming, with other 
high compliments, which Mr Porter did inter- 
pret. About ten o^clock that night the King him- 
self came in a close coach with intent to visit the 
Prince, who, hearing of it, met him half way, and 
after salutations and divers embraces which passed 
in the first interview they parted late. I forgot to 
tell you that Count Gondomar, being sworn Coun- 
cillor of State that morning, having been before 
but one of the Council of War, he came in great 
haste to visit the Prince, saying he had strange 
news to tell him, which was that an Englishman 
was sworn Privy Councillor of Spain, meaning 
himself, who he said was an Englishman in his 
heart. On Sunday following, the King in the after- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 219 

noon came abroad to take the air with the Queen, 
his two brothers, and the Infanta, who were all 
in one coach ; but the Infanta sat in the bootikin 
with a blue riband about her arm, of purpose that 
the Prince might distinguish her. There were 
above twenty coaches besides of grandees, noble- 
men, and ladies that attended them. And now it 
was publicly known amongst the vulgar that it 
was the Prince of Wales who had come, and the 
confluence of people before my Lord of Bristol's 
house was so great and greedy to see the Prince, 
that to clear the way Sir Lewis Dives went out 
and took coach, and all the crowd of people went 
after him. So the Prince himself a little after took 
coach, wherein there were the Earl of Bristol, Sir 
Walter Ashton, and Count Gondomar, and so went 
to the Prado, a place hard by, of purpose to take 
the air, where they stayed till the King passed 
by. As soon as the Infanta saw the Prince her 
colour rose very high, which we hold to be an 
impression of love and affection, for the face is 
oftentimes a true index of the heart. Upon Mon- 
day morning after the King sent some of his prime 
nobles and other gentlemen to attend the Prince 
in quality of officers, as one to be his major-domo 
(his steward), another to be master of the horse, 
and so too inferior officers, so that there is a com- 
plete court now at my Lord of Bristol's house. 
But upon Sunday next the Prince is to remove to 
the King's palace, where there is one of the chief 
quarters of the house providing for him. By the 



220 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

next opportunity you shall hear more. — In the 
interim I take my leave and rest your most hum- 
ble and ready servitor, J. H. 
Madrid, March 27, 1623. 

XVI 

To Sir Eubule Thelwall, Knight, at Grafs Inn 

1KNO W the eyes of all England are earnestly 
fixed now upon Spain, her best jewel being 
here; but his journey was like to be spoiled in 
France, for if he had stayed but a little longer at 
Bayonne, the last town of that kingdom hither- 
wards, he had been discovered, for Monsieur Gra- 
mond, the governor, had notice of him not long 
after he had taken post. The people here do 
mightily magnify the gallantry of the journey, and 
cry out that he deserved to have the Infanta thrown 
into his arms the first night he came. He hath 
been entertained with all the magnificence that 
possibly could be devised. On Sunday last, in 
the morning betimes, he went to Saint Hierom's 
monastery, whence the Kings of Spain used to be 
fetched the day they are crowned ; and thither 
the King came in person with his two brothers, 
his eight counsels, and the flower of the nobility. 
He rode upon the King's right hand through the 
heart of the town under a great canopy, and was 
brought so into his lodgings in the King's palace, 
and the King himself accompanied him to his very 



OF JAMES HOWELL 221 

bedchamber. It was a very glorious sight to be- 
hold, for the custom of the Spaniard is, though 
he go plain in his ordinary habit, yet upon some 
festival or cause of triumph, there 's none goes 
beyond him in gaudiness. 

We daily hope for the Pope's breve or dispen- 
sation to perfect the business, though there be 
dark whispers abroad that it has come already, but 
that upon this unexpected coming of the Prince, 
it was sent back to Rome, and some new clauses 
thrust in for their further advantage. Till this 
despatch comes matters are at a kind of stand ; yet 
His Highness makes account to be back in Eng- 
land about the latter end of May. God Almighty 
turn all to the best, and to what shall be most 
conducible to his glory. — So with my due re- 
spects unto you, I rest, your much obliged servi- 
tor, J. H. 

Madrid, April i, 1623. 

XVII 

To Captain Leaf 

HAVING brought up the law to the highest 
point against the Viceroy of Sardinia, and 
that in an extraordinary manner, as may appear 
unto you by that printed schedule I sent to you 
in my last, and finding an apparent disability in 
him to satisfy the debt, I thought upon a new 
design, and framed a memorial to the King, and 



222 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

wrought good strong means to have it seconded : 
that in regard that predatory act of seizing upon 
the ship Vineyard in Sardinia with all her goods, 
was done by His Majesty's viceroy, his sovereign 
minister of state, one that immediately represented 
his own royal person, and that the said viceroy 
was insolvent, I desired His Majesty would be 
pleased to grant a warrant for the relief of both 
parties to load so many thousand sterils or meas- 
ures of corn out of Sardinia and Sicily custom- 
free. I had gone far in the business when Sir 
Francis Cottington sent for me, and required me 
in the Prince his name to proceed no further herein 
till he was departed. So His Highness' presence 
here hath turned rather to my disadvantage than 
otherwise. Amongst other grandezas which the 
King of Spain conferred upon our Prince, one was 
the releasement of prisoners, and that all petitions of 
grace should come to him for the first month, but 
he hath been wonderful sparing in receiving any, 
specially from any English, Irish, or Scot. Your 
son Nicholas is come hither from Alicante about 
the ship Amity^ and I shall be ready to second 
him in getting satisfaction. — So I rest yours ready 
to serve you, J. H. 

Madrid, June 3, 1623. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 223 

XVIII 

To Captain Tho. Porter 

Noble Captain, 

MY last unto you was in Spanish, in answer 
to one of yours in the same language, and 
amongst that confluence of English gallants, which 
upon the occasion of His Highness being here, 
are come to this court, I fed myself with hopes a 
long while to have seen you, but I find now that 
those hopes were imped with false feathers. I know 
your heart is here and your best affections, there- 
fore I wonder what keeps back your person ; but 
I conceive the reason to be that you intend to 
come like yourself, to come commander-in-chief 
of one of the castles of the crown, one of the ships 
royal. If you come so to this shore side, I hope 
you will have time to come to the court. I have 
at any time a good lodging for you, and my land- 
lady is none of the meanest, and her husband hath 
many good parts. I heard her setting him forth 
one day and giving this character of him: "Mi 
marido es buen musico, buen esgrimidor, buen es- 
crivano, excellente arithmetico, salvo que no mul- 
tiplica " (My husband is a good musician, a good 
fencer, a good horseman, a good penman, and an 
excellent arithmetician, only he cannot multiply). 
For outward usage there is all industry used to 
give the Prince and his servants all possible con- 



1224 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

tentment, and some of the King's own servants 
wait upon them at table in the palace, where I am 
sorry to hear some of them jeer at the Spanish 
fare, and use other slighting speeches and demean- 
our. There are many excellent poems made here 
since the Prince's arrival, v^hich are too long to 
couch in a letter, yet I will venture to send you 
this one stanza of Lope de Vega's : 

Carlos Estuardo Soy 

Que siendo Amor mi guia 
Al cielo d'Espaiia voy 
Por ver mi Estrella Maria. 

There are comedians once a week come to the 
palace, where under a great canopy the Queen and 
the Infanta sit in the middle, our Prince and Don 
Carlos on the Queen's right hand, the King and 
the little cardinal on the Infanta's left hand. I 
have seen the Prince have his eyes immovably 
fixed upon the Infanta half-an-hour together in a 
thoughtful, speculative posture, which sure would 
needs be tedious, unless affection did sweeten it ; 
it was no handsome comparison of Olivares, that 
he watched her as a cat doth a mouse. Not long 
since the Prince, understanding that the Infanta 
was used to go some mornings to the Casa de 
Campo, a summer house the King hath on the other 
side the river, to gather May dew, he did rise be- 
times and went thither, taking your brother with 
him. They were let into the house and into the 
garden, but the Infanta was in the orchard, and 
there being a high partition wall between and 



OF JAMES HOWELL 225 

the door doubly bolted, the Prince got on the top 
of the wall and sprang down a great height, and 
so made towards her; but she, spying him first of 
all the rest, gave a shriek, and ran back. The old 
marquis that was then her guardian came towards 
the Prince and fell on his knees, conjuring His 
Highness to retire, in regard he hazarded his head 
if he admitted any to her company. So the door 
was opened, and he came out under that wall over 
which he had got in. I have seen him watch a 
long hour together in a close coach in the open 
street to see her as she went abroad. I cannot say 
that the Prince did ever talk with her privately, 
yet publicly often, my Lord of Bristol being in- 
terpreter, but the King always sat hard by to over- 
hear all. Our cousin Archy hath more privilege 
than any, for he often goes with his fooFs coat 
where the Infanta is with her menlnas and ladles 
of honour, and keeps a-blowing and blustering 
amongst them, and flurts out what he list. 

One day they were discoursing what a marvel- 
lous thing it was that the Duke of Bavaria with 
less than 1 5,000 men, after a long toilsome march, 
should dare to encounter the Palsgrave's army 
consisting of above 25,000, and to give them 
an utter discomfiture, and take Prague presently 
after. Whereunto Archy answered that he would 
tell them a stranger thing than that. Was it not 
a strange thing, quoth he, that in the year '88 
there should come a fleet of 140 sail from Spain 
to invade England, and that ten of these could 



226 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

not go back to tell what became of the rest? By 
the next opportunity I will send you the Cordo- 
van pockets and gloves you wrote for of Fran- 
cesco Moreno's perfuming. — So may my dear 
captain live long and love his J. H. 

Madrid, July lo, 1623. 

XIX 

To my cousin Tho, Guiriy Esq.^ at his house 
Trecastle 

Cousin, 

I RECEIVED lately one of yours, which I can- 
not compare more properly than to a posy of 
curious flowers, there was therein such variety of 
sweet strains and dainty expressions of love. And 
though it bore an old date, for it was forty days 
before it came to safe hand, yet the flowers were 
still fresh, and not a whit faded, but cast as strong 
and as fragrant a scent as when your hands bound 
them up first together, only there was one flower 
that did not savour so well, which was the unde- 
served character you please to give of my small 
abilities, which in regard you look upon me through 
the prospective of aflfection, appear greater unto 
you than they are of themselves; yet as small as 
they are, I would be glad to employ them all to 
serve you upon any occasion. 

Whereas you desire to know how matters pass 
here, you shall understand that we are rather in 



OF JAMES HOWELL 227 

assurance than hopes that the match will take 
effect, when one despatch more is brought from 
Rome which we greedily expect. The Spaniards 
generally desire it. They are much taken with 
our Prince, with the bravery of his journey, and 
his discreet comportment since ; and they confess 
there was never princess courted with more gal- 
lantry. The wits of the court here have made 
divers encomiums of him and of his affection to 
the Lady Infanta. Amongst others I send you 
a Latin poem of one Marnierius, a Valencian, to 
which I add this ensuing hexastich, which, in re- 
gard to the difficulty of the verse, consisting of 
all ternaries (which is the hardest way of versify- 
ing), and of the exactness of the translation, I be- 
lieve will give you content. 

Fax grata est, gratum est vulnus, mihi grata catena est. 

Me quibus astringit, laedit & urit Amor ; 

Sed flammam extingui, sanari vulnera, solvi 

Vincla, etiam ut possem non ego posse velim : 

Mirum equidem genus hoc morbi est, incendia & ictus 

Vinclaque, vinctus adhuc, laesus & ustus, amo. 

Grateful 's to me the fire, the wound, the chain. 
By which love burns, love binds and giveth pain ; 
But for to quench this fire, these bonds to loose. 
These wounds to heal, I would not could I choose : 
Strange sickness, where the wounds, the bonds, the fire 
That burns, that bind, that hurt, I must desire. 

In your next I pray send me your opinion of 
these verses, for I know you are a critic in poetry. 
Mr Vaughan of the Golden Grove and I were com- 



228 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

rades and bedfellows here many months together. 
His father, Sir John Vaughan, the Prince, his 
controller, is lately come to attend his master. 
My Lord of Carlisle, my Lord of Holland, my 
Lord of Rochfort, my Lord of Denbigh, and 
divers others are here, so that we have a very 
flourishing court, and I could wish you were here 
to make one of the number. So, my dear cousin, 
I wish you all happiness, and our noble Prince a 
safe and successful return to England. — Your most 
affectionate cousin, 

J.H. 
Madrid, 13 August 1623. 

XX 

To my Noble Friend Sir yohn North 

THE long looked for dispensation is come 
from Rome, but I hear it is clogged with new 
clauses ; and one is, that the Pope, who allegeth 
that the only aim of the Apostolical See in grant- 
ing this dispensation was the advantage and ease 
of the Catholics in the King of Great Britain's do- 
minions, therefore he desired a valuable caution for 
the performance of those articles which were stipu- 
lated in their favour. This hath much puzzled the 
business, and Sir Francis Cottington comes now 
over about it. Besides there is some distaste taken 
at the Duke of Buckingham here, and I heard this 
King should say he will treat no more with him 



OF JAMES HOWELL 229 

but with the ambassadors, who, he saith, have 
a more plenary commission, and understand the 
business better. As there is some darkness hap- 
pened betwixt the two favourites, so matters stand 
not right betwixt the Duke and the Earl of 
Bristol ; but God forbid that a business of so high 
a consequence as this, which is likely to tend so 
much to the universal good of Christendom, to the 
restitution of the Palatinate, and the composing 
those broils in Germany, should be ranversed by 
differences betwixt a few private subjects, though 
now public ministers. 

Mr Washington, the Prince's page, is lately dead 
of a calenture; and I was at his burial under a fig- 
tree behind my Lord of BristoFs house. A little 
before his death one Ballard, an English priest, 
went to tamper with him, and Sir Edmund Varney, 
meeting him coming down the stairs out of Wash- 
ington's chamber, they fell from words to blows; 
but they were parted. The business was like to 
gather very ill blood and come to a great height 
had not Count Gondomar quashed it, which I be- 
lieve he could not have done unless the times had 
been favourable ; for such is the reverence they 
bear to the Church here, and so holy a conceit they 
have of all ecclesiastics, that the greatest don in 
Spain will tremble to offer the meanest of them any 
outrage or affront. Count Gondomar hath also 
helped to free some English that were in the 
Inquisition in Toledo and Seville, and I could 
allege many instances how ready and cheerful he is 



230 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

to assist any Englishman whatsoever, notwithstand- 
ing the base affronts he hath often received of the 
London boys as he calls them. At his last return 
hither, I heard of a merry saying of his to the 
Queen, who discoursing with him about the great- 
ness of London, and whether it was as populous as 
Madrid : "Yes, madam, and more populous when 
I came away, though I believe there is scarce a 
man left there now, but all women and children ; 
for all the men both in court and city were ready 
booted and spurred to go away." And I am sorry 
to hear how other nations do much tax the English 
of their incivility to public ministers of state, and 
what ballads and pasquils, and fopperies and plays 
were made against Gondomar for doing his master's 
business. My Lord of Bristol coming from Ger- 
many to Brussels, notwithstanding that at his arrival 
thither the news was fresh that he had relieved 
Frankindale as he passed, yet was he not a whit 
the less welcome, but valued the more both by the 
archduchess herself and Spinola, with all the rest; 
as also that they knew well that the said earl had 
been the sole adviser of keeping Sir Robert 
Mansell abroad with that fleet upon the coast of 
Spain till the Palsgrave should be restored. I pray, 
sir, when you go to London Wall and Tower 
Hill, be pleased to remember my humble service, 
where you know it is due. — So I am, your most 
faithful servitor, J. H. 

Madrid, August 15, 1623. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 231 



XXI 

To the right honourable the Lord Viscount 
Colchester 

My very good Lord, 

I RECEIVED the letter and commands your 
lordship pleased to send me by Mr Walsing- 
ham Gresley, and touching the constitutions and 
orders of the contratation house of the West 
Indies in Seville, I cannot procure it for love or 
money upon any terms, though I have done all 
possible diligence therein. And some tell me it is 
dangerous, and no less than treason in him that 
gives the copy of them to any, in regard it is 
counted the greatest mystery of all the Spanish 
government. 

That difficulty which happened in the business 
of the match of giving caution to the Pope is now 
overcome; for whereas our King answered that he 
could give no other caution than his royal word 
and his son's exemplified under the great seal of 
England, and confirmed by his Council of State, 
it being impossible to have it done by Parliament, 
in regard of the averseness the common people 
have to the alliance; and whereas this gave no 
satisfaction to Rome, the King of Spain now offers 
himself for caution, for putting in execution what 
is stipulated in behalf of the Roman Catholics 
throughout His Majesty of Great Britain's domin- 



232 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

ions ; but he desires to consult his ghostly fathers 
to know whether he may do it without wronging 
his conscience; hereupon there hath been a junta 
formed of bishops and Jesuits, who have been 
already a good while about it, and the Bishop of 
Segovia, who is, as it were, lord treasurer, having 
written a treatise lately against the match, was 
ousted of his office, banished the court, and con- 
fined to his diocese. The Duke of Buckingham 
hath been ill disposed a good while, and lies sick 
at court, where the Prince hath no public exercise 
of devotion, but only bedchamber prayers, and 
some think that his lodging in the King's house 
is like to prove a disadvantage to the main busi- 
ness ; for whereas most sorts of people here hardly 
hold us to be Christians, if the Prince had had 
a palace of his own, and been permitted to have 
used a room for an open chapel to exercise the 
liturgy of the Church of England, it would have 
brought them to have a better opinion of us ; and 
to this end there were some of our best church 
plate and vestments brought hither but never 
used. The slow pace of this Junta troubles us a 
little, and to the divines there are some civilians 
admitted lately, and the quaere is this, whether 
the King of Spain may bind himself by oath 
in the behalf of the King of England, to per- 
form such and such articles that are agreed on 
in favour of the Roman Catholics by virtue of 
this match, whether the King may do this salva 
conscientia? 



OF JAMES HOWELL 233 

There was a great show lately here of baiting 
of bulls with men for the entertainment of the 
Prince. It is the chiefest of all Spanish sports ; 
commonly there are men killed at it, therefore 
there are priests appointed to be there ready to 
confess them. It hath happened oftentimes that 
a bull hath taken up two men upon his horns 
with their guts dangling about them ; the horse- 
men run with lances and swords, the foot with 
goads. As I am told the Pope hath sent divers 
Bulls against this sport of bulling, yet it will not 
be left, the nation hath taken such an habitual 
delight in it. There was an ill-favoured accident 
like to have happened lately at the King's house, 
in that part where my Lord of Carlisle and my 
Lord Denbigh were lodged ; for my Lord Den- 
bigh, late at night taking a pipe of tobacco in 
a balcony which hung over the King's garden, he 
blew down the ashes, which falling upon some 
parched combustible matter began to flame and 
spread, but Master Davis, my Lord of CaHisle's 
barber, leaped down a great height and quenched 
it. So with continuance of my most humble 
service, I rest ever ready, at your lordship's 
commands, J. H. 

Madrid, August 16, 1623. 



234 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

XXII 

To Sir yames Crofts, from Madrid 

THE Court of Spain affords now little news ; 
for there is a remora sticks to the business 
of the match, till the Junta of divines give up 
their opinion. But from Turkey there came a 
letter this week wherein there is the strangest and 
most tragical news, that in my small reading no 
story can parallel, or show with more pregnancy 
the instability and tottering estate of human great- 
ness, and the sandy foundation whereon the vast 
Ottoman Empire is reared upon, for Sultan Osman, 
the grand Turk, a man according to the humour 
of that nation, warHke and fleshed in blood and 
a violent hater of Christians, was, in the flower of 
his years, in the heat and height of his courage, 
knocked in the head by one of his own slaves, 
and one of the meanest of them, with a battle-axe, 
and the murderer never after proceeded against or 
questioned. 

The ground of this tragedy was the late ill-suc- 
cess he had against the Pole, wherein he lost about 
100,000 horse for want of forage, and 80,000 men 
for want of fighting, which he imputed to the 
cowardice of his janizaries, who rather than bear 
the brunt of the battle, were more willing to re- 
turn home to their wives and merchandising, 
which they are now permitted to do contrary to 



OF JAMES HOWELL 235 

their first institution, which makes them more 
worldly and less venturous. This disgraceful re- 
turn from Poland stuck in Osman's stomach, and 
so he studied a way how to be revenged of the 
janizaries. Therefore, by the advice of his grand 
vizier (a stout gallant man who had been one of 
the chief Beglerbegs in the East), he intended to 
erect a new soldiery in Asia about Damascus, of 
the Kurds, a frontier people, and consequently 
hardy and inured to arms. Of these he purposed 
to entertain 40,000 as a lifeguard for his person, 
though the main design was to suppress his lazy 
and lustful janizaries with men of fresh new 
spirits. 

To disguise this plot he pretended a pilgrimage 
to Mecca, to visit Mahomet's tomb, and reconcile 
himself to the prophet, who he thought was angry 
with him because of his late ill-success in Poland. 
But this colour was not specious enough in regard 
he might have performed this pilgrimage with a 
smaller train and charge. Therefore it was pro- 
pounded that the Emir of Sidon should be made 
to rise up in arms, that so he might go with a 
greater power and treasure. But this plot was held 
disadvantageous to him in regard his janizaries 
must then have attended him. So he pretends and 
prepares only for the pilgrimage, yet he makes 
ready as much treasure as he could make, and to 
that end he melts his plate, and furniture of horses, 
with divers church lamps. This fomented some 
jealousy in the janizaries, with certain words which 



236 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

should drop from him, that he would find soldiers 
shortly should whip them. Hereupon he hath 
sent over to Asia's side his pavilions, many of his 
servants, with his jewels and treasure, resolving 
upon the voyage, notwithstanding that divers 
petitions were delivered him from the clergy, the 
civil magistrate and the soldiery that he should 
desist from the voyage ; but all would not do. 
Thereupon, upon the point of his departure, the 
janizaries and spahies came in a tumultuary manner 
to the seraglio, and in a high insolent language 
dissuaded him from the pilgrimage, and demanded 
of him his ill counsellors. The first he granted, 
but for the second he said that it stood not with 
his honour to have his nearest servants torn from 
him so without any legal proceeding, but he 
assured them that they should appear in the divan 
the next day to answer for themselves ; but this 
not satisfying they went away in a fury and plun- 
dered the grand vizier*s palace with divers others. 
Osman hereupon was advised to go from his pri- 
vate gardens that night to the Asian shore, but 
his destiny kept him from it. So the next morn- 
ing they came armed to the Court (but having 
made a covenant not to violate the imperial throne) 
and cut in pieces the grand vizier with divers 
other great officers, and not finding Osman, who 
had hid himself in a small lodge in one of his 
gardens, they cried out they must have a Mussul- 
man Emperor. Therefore they broke into a dun- 
geon and brought out Mustapha, Osman's uncle, 



OF JAMES HOWELL 237 

whom he had clapt there at the beginning of the 
tumult, and who had been king before, but was 
deposed for his simplicity, being a kind of santon 
or holy man, that is, betwixt an innocent and an 
idiot. This Mustapha they did reinthronise and 
place in the Ottoman Empire. 

The next day they found out Osman, and 
brought him before Mustapha, who excused him- 
self with tears in his eyes for his rash attempts, 
which wrought tenderness in some, but more 
scorn and fury in others, who fell upon the capi 
aga^ with other officers, and cut them in pieces 
before his eyes. Osman thence was carried to 
prison, and as he was getting on horseback a com- 
mon soldier took off his turban and clapt his 
upon Osman's head, who in his passage begged a 
draught of water at a fountain. The next day the 
new vizier went with an executioner to strangle 
him in regard there were two younger brothers 
more of his to preserve the Ottoman's race, where, 
after they had rushed in, he being newly awaked 
and staring upon them, and thinking to defend 
himself, a robust boisterous rogue knocked him 
down, and so the rest fell upon him and strangled 
him with much ado. 

Thus fell one of the greatest potentates upon 
earth by the hands of a contemptible slave, for 
there is not a free-born subject in all that vast 
empire. Thus fell he that entitles himself most 
puissant and highest monarch of the Turks, king 
above all kings, a king that dwelleth upon the 



238 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

earthly paradise, son of Mahomet, keeper of the 
grave of the Christian God, Lord of the Tree of 
Life and of the river Flisky, prior of the Earthly 
Paradise, conqueror of the Macedonians, the seed 
of great Alexander, Prince of the kingdoms of 
Tartary, Mesopotamia, Media and of the Martial 
Mammalucks, Anatolia, Bithynia, Asia, Arme- 
nia, Servia, Thracia, Morea, Valachia, Moldavia, 
and of all warlike Hungary, Sovereign Lord and 
Commander of all Greece, Persia, both the Arabias, 
the most noble kingdom of Egypt, Tremisen and 
African, Emperor of Trebisond and the most glori- 
ous Constantinople, lord of all the White and 
Black Seas, of the holy cities Mecca and Medina, 
shining with divine glory, commander of all things 
that are to be commanded, and the strongest and 
mightiest champion of the wide world, a warrior 
appointed by heaven in the edge of the sword, 
a persecutor of his enemies, a most perfect jewel 
of the blessed tree, the chiefest keeper of the cruci- 
fied God, etc., with other such bombastical 
titles. 

This Osman was a man of goodly constitution, 
an amiable aspect, and of excess of courage, but 
sordidly covetous, which drove him to violate the 
church and to melt the lamps thereof, which made 
the Mufti say that this was a due judgment fallen 
upon him from heaven for his sacrilege. He used 
also to make his person too cheap, for he would 
go ordinarily In the night time with two men after 
him like a petty constable and peep into the cauph- 



OF JAMES HOWELL 239 

houses and cabarets and apprehend soldiers there. 
And these two things it seems was the cause, that 
when he was so assaulted in the Seraglio, not one 
of his domestic servants, whereof he had 3000, 
would lift an arm to help him. 

Some few days before his death he had a strange 
dream, for he dreamt that he was mounted upon 
a great camel, who would not go neither by fair nor 
foul means, and alighting off him and thinking to 
strike him with his scimitar, the body of the beast 
vanished, leaving the head and the bridle only in 
his hands. When the Mufti and the Hoggies 
could not interpret this dream, Mustapha, his 
uncle, did it, for he said the camel signified his 
empire, his mounting of him his excess in govern- 
ment, his alighting down his deposing. Another 
kind of prophetic speech dropped from the grand 
vizier to Sir Thomas Roe, our ambassador there, 
who having gone a little before this tragedy to 
visit the said vizier, told him what whisperings 
and mutterings there were in every corner for this 
Asiatic voyage, and what ill consequences might 
ensue from it, therefore it might well stand with 
his great wisdom to stay it ; but if it held he de- 
sired him to leave a charge with the Chimacham, 
his deputy, that the English nation in the port 
should be free from outrages, whereunto the grand 
vizier answered, " Trouble not yourself about that, 
for I will not remove so far from Constantinople, 
but I will leave one of my legs behind to serve 
^" you," which proved too true, for he was murdered 



240 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

afterwards and one of his legs was hung up in the 
hippodrome. 

This fresh tragedy makes me to give over won- 
dering at anything that ever I heard or read, to 
show the lubricity of mundane greatness, as also 
the fury of the vulgar, which, like an impetuous 
torrent, gathereth strength by degrees as it meets 
with divers dams, and being come to the height, 
cannot stop itself; for when this rage of the soldiers 
began first there was no design at all to violate or 
hurt the Emperor, but to take from him his ill 
counsellors ; but being once afoot, it grew by 
insensible degrees to the utmost of outrages. 

The bringing out of Mustapha from the dun- 
geon, where he was prisoner, to be Emperor of the 
Musulmans, puts me in mind of what I read in 
Mr Camden of our late Queen Elizabeth, how 
she was brought from the scaffold to the English 
throne. 

They who profess to be critics in policy here 
hope that this murdering of Osman may in time 
breed good blood, and prove advantageous to 
Christendom, for though this be the first emperor 
of the Turks that was dispatched so, he is not like 
to be the last, now that the soldiers have this pre- 
cedent. Others think that if that design in Asia 
had taken, it had been very probable the Con- 
stantinopolians had hoisted up another king, and 
so the empire had been dismembered, and by 
this division had lost strength, as the Roman Em- 
pire did, when it was broken into east and west. 



OF JAMES HOWELL 241 

Excuse me that this my letter is become such 
a monster. I mean that it hath passed the size 
and ordinary proportions of a letter, for the matter 
it treats of is monstrous ; besides, it is a rule that 
historical letters have more liberty to be long than 
others. In my next you shall hear how matters 
pass here. And in the meantime and always, I rest 
your lordship's most devoted servitor. 



Madrid, August 17, 1623. 



XXIII 



J.H. 



To the Right Honourable Sir Tho. Savage^ 
Knight and Baronet 

Honourable Sir, 

THE procedure of things in relation to the 
grand business of the match was at a kind of 
stand when the long-winded Junta delivered their 
opinions and fell at last upon this result, that 
His Catholic Majesty, for the satisfaction of 
Saint Peter, might oblige himself in the behalf of 
England, for the performance of those capitulations 
which reflected upon the Roman Catholics in that 
kingdom ; and in case of non-performance, then 
to right himself by war; since that, the matri- 
monial articles were solemnly sworn unto by the 
King of Spain and His Highness, the two favour- 
ites, our two ambassadors, the Duke of Infantado 
and other counsellors of state being present; here- 



242 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

upon the eighth of the next September Is appointed 
to be the day of Desposorios, the day of affiance, 
or the betrothing day. There was much gladness 
expressed here, and luminaries of joy were in every 
great street throughout the city. But there is an 
unlucky accident hath intervened, for the King 
gave the Prince a solemn visit since, and told him 
Pope Gregory was dead, who was so great a friend 
to the match, but in regard the business was not 
yet come to perfection, he could not proceed 
further in it till the former dispensation were rati- 
fied by the new Pope Urban, which to procure he 
would make it his own task, and that all possible 
expedition should be used in it, and therefore 
desired his patience in the interim. The Prince 
answered, and pressed the necessity of his speedy 
return with divers reasons. He said there was a 
general kind of murmuring in England for his so 
long absence, that the King his father was old and 
sickly, that the fleet of ships were all ready, he 
thought, at sea, to fetch him, the winter drew on, 
and withal that the articles of the match were 
signed in England, with this proviso, that if he be 
not come back by such a month, they should be of 
no validity. The King replied that, since His High- 
ness was resolved upon so sudden a departure, he 
would please to leave a proxy behind to finish the 
marriage, and he would take it for a favour if he 
would depute him to personate him, and ten days 
after the ratification shall come from Rome the 
business shall be done, and afterwards he might 



OF JAMES HOWELL 243 

send for his wife when he pleased. The Prince 
rejoined that amongst those multitudes of royal 
favours which he had received from His Majesty, 
this transcended all the rest, therefore he would 
willingly leave a proxy for His Majesty and an- 
other for Don Carlos to this effect. So they parted 
for that time without the least umbrage of discon- 
tent, nor do I hear of any engendered since. The 
last month, it is true, the Junta of divines dwelt so 
long upon the business that there were whisperings 
that the Prince intended to go away disguised as 
he came, and the question being asked by a person 
of quality, there was a brave answer made, that if 
love brought him hither, it is not fear shall drive 
him away. 

There are preparations already on foot for his 
return, and the two proxies are drawn and left in 
my Lord of Bristol's hands. Notwithstanding 
this ill-favoured stop, yet we are here all confident 
the business will take effect. In which hopes I 
rest your most humble and ready servitor, 

J. H. 

Madrid, 18 August 1623. 

XXIV 

To Captain Nich, Leaf at his House in London 

THIS letter comes to you by Mr Richard 
Altham, of whose sudden departure hence 
I am very sorry, it being the late death of his 



244 FAMILIAR LETTERS 

brother Sir James Altham. I have been at a stand 
in the business a good while, for His Highness 
coming hither was no advantage to me in the earth. 
He hath done the Spaniards divers courtesies, but 
he hath been very sparing in doing the English 
any. It may be perhaps because it may be a dim- 
inution of honour to be beholding to any foreign 
prince to do his own subjects favours, but my 
business requires no favour — all I desire is justice, 
which I have not obtained yet in reality. 

The Prince is preparing for his journey. I shall 
to it again closely when he is gone, and make 
a shaft or a bolt of it. The Pope's death hath 
retarded the proceedings of the match, but we are 
so far from despairing of it that one may have 
wagers thirty to one it will take effect still. He 
that deals with this nation must have a great deal 
of phlegm, and if this grand business of state, the 
match, suffer such protractions and puttings off, 
you need not wonder that private negotiations, as 
mine is, should be subject to the same inconven- 
iences. There shall be no means left unattempted 
that my best industry can find out to put a period 
to it, and when His Highness is gone I hope to 
find my Lord of Bristol more at leisure to con- 
tinue his favour and furtherance, which hath been 
much already. — So I rest yours ready to serve 
you, J. H. 

Madrid, August 19, 1623. 

END OF VOLUME I 



CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS 
U . S . A